SallyAnn Salsano Defines Cast and Asks Emmy Voters “Why Not Jersey Shore?”
Executive Producer SallyAnn Salsano is taking a break from working on Floribama Shore. She describes it as “bananas.” Tune into any episode of Jersey Shore and you’ll see what she means. For years, viewers have been following the adventures of Snooki, J-Woww, Pauly D, Vinny, Deena and The Sit.
Salsano created a show that is a pop culture phenomenon, even Obama referenced a cast member. Whether you watch the show or not, you know Snooki and friends and that Salsano says is one of the many reasons why she thinks Emmy Voters should be looking at Jersey Shore this season.
Congratulations on the new season. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Let me tell you something. It is BANANAS right now. I don’t know what is going on, but it is crazy fun.
What I love about this is seeing how you manage to keep the show so fresh after all these years. But on the flip side, seeing the fans and how they react to how much they also still love the show. What is that like for you?
It’s kind of interesting for me because even if you don’t watch the show, you know the cast. I feel it’s one of the reality casts that really transcended and really cut through everything. Not just people who watch reality TV just know about this cast. President Obama was making Snooki jokes. It’s just that thing that cut through in a way nothing else has. I think how we keep is fresh is that we all do a really good job, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera is we just keep each other authentic. We all are who we say we are.
I don’t think any of us have changed. Behind the camera, we haven’t changed. In front of the camera, we work with them to make sure they don’t change, because they’re great the way they are. I think it is one of those things where the casting different was different to how it is now. We had more money. We had more time. We were able to really dig in and find these characters. I love those kids.
It’s funny to me. This is the one cast – in my opinion, that should be recognized. A lot of other shows are great and they have great casts – I watch them. I watch them. The thing is, these guys brought it ten years ago and they continue to bring it. I don’t think it’s something you can really say about a lot of casts. What they’re actually bringing is themselves. It’s not how they do in a format. It’s not how they react to a challenge or a task. It’s truly just them living their lives. To me, that’s the ultimate definition of the cast. They were cast to be who they say they were, in the only situation they know which is life. These people are just living and breathing and doing their thing. It really is about who they are as people.
I think people follow them around because they’re just being who they are as you say. Even when they were on Masterchef, people were still talking about it and fascinated after all this time by them.
They did such a great job on that.
As you say, it’s bananas. How do you edit the show when you are there 24/7 and narrow it down when there’s so much more going on than we’ll ever know?
I think we shoot this show in a way that a lot of people don’t even shoot anymore. People show up and there are scenes and it’s done. With our shows and a lot of shows that we do, we roll all the time. When we have them living in a house or we’re in Vegas, obviously, I don’t live with them in between. But, we tend to shoot between 500-600 hours for every one hour of the show. What’s funny is when life happens. Like when the fridge opens and shit falls out. Or Nicole is driving and something happens. Or Pauly D is the best reactor to things and he’s reacting to real-life stuff. It really is hard for them to put their real-lives on hold to do it, but it is a commitment that we made to each other. We are going to keep it real, and we respect each other’s real-lives. When we’ are together, everyone pays attention and looks forward to it in a really odd way. It’s our job, but it’s like coming home.
So much goes into the planning of it and finding the location and finding all of that. Then it’s about what they say and do when they get there. I think their time away, makes their time together even better.
The Kevin Bacon penis reaction was great. You cut to Snooki and she’s ‘Huh?” It’s a priceless moment. We all have that friend. It was quite a highlight. Do you have any?
I don’t even know. I love all of them so much. It’s insane. I have very different relationships with every single one of them. I can’t wait for you to see this upcoming season. I would say one of the craziest days of my life, and what’s coming up is getting Mike ready to go to court. That morning. Being in his apartment and knowing he was getting ready for that was insane. You’re at his wedding. I’m with Deena when she’s getting a sonogram. You’re listening to J-Woww talk about divorce and you’re thinking, ‘Fuck, I was there the night they hooked up.’
You really are there every single step of the way.
I think the cancer benefit that night said so much about who all of them are. Deena had something horrific happen in her life. Her father passed away way too soon and there was so much around that. Ronnie and her had that falling out when her dad passed and he didn’t come because of Sammi. His house was robbed and he stilled stayed for Deena and he said, “I’m never not going to be there for her again.” Vinny is mc’ing and Paul is a DJ and those guys are doing all those fundraiser things. They are doing everything they can. That’s the thing about this group, as whacky and as far-fetched as you think they are, they’re just putting on a cancer benefit.
That night, I remember cheering and clapping and crying for them when they announced we had raised $40,000. We could not believe it. It’s such a small organization and they use what they have for good. Jenni and what she’s going through with her son, it’s everything. There’s always something happening even if we don’t know it. We all talk on and off the court. Even if it’s texting back and forth. All our lives are so busy, but we always know where the other is and what the other is doing.
So, you have a group chat? Who memes the most?
Oh my God! There are so many group chats they can’t even keep it straight. I know they talk so much shit about me. The group chats with me is labeled Be Careful SA is in this one. They can’t be more transparent about the fact that they want to murder me sometimes. That’s our relationship. It’s like, ‘uh-oh, SA is in this one, let’s not talk crap.’ They have their group chat with Angelina. They have one without Angelina. It’s so ridiculous but that’s what all friends have. We all have good days and bad days. You have days when you’re mad at one friend and then the next day, you’re with them for three weeks straight.
It’s normal. That’s the thing. It’s not how well the cast performs or how well they perform in a challenge. How are they? They are as a cast – what other cast do they compare to? I appreciate them all the time. I appreciate every reference in every late night talk show, every magazine article. I appreciate everything that recognizes this show. It warms my heart.
I care this much. I appreciate all those times. It’s interesting because when the awards season comes, for me, you get to that place where it’s like, “Why not this show?” It’s everyone’s guilty pleasure but why not recognize it for once as a pleasure? It’s a pleasure that these guys have given up their entire lives to us. It’s a pleasure that no matter how much they get paid, what they do or what’s happening in their lives, they share it with us. We get one hour where we can shut off and have a good time? Why shouldn’t they be recognized for that?
A lot of times when these reality shows don’t work, a lot of times, it’s because people aren’t being honest and they don’t show their real-selves. To me, it’s almost a crime that they’re not celebrated for transcending and just doing it. Sometimes, at their own expense. If you want reality tv to stay authentic and to have people share. Let’s tell them; we appreciate you. There are so many people that watch every week and what better way to show that to recognize them without them being on the cover of Us Magazine, but recognize them in a way, if you read the definition of docu-series reality TV, you guys are the ones really doing it.
It’s not about the format. I love a formatted show. Sometimes, the format, you can plug characters that aren’t as strong into a format and have it be successful because you are relying on the tentpoles and the format. There is nothing here. There is not tentpole. There is no format. Without these kids, there is no Jersey Shore.
It’s OK to admit that America is watching this and likes it. Everyone has to change with the times. Maybe this isn’t what reality TV started to be, but for whatever reason, these people have connected. You might not realize it, but if you look at that cast, there’s a little piece of you in every one of those characters. Everybody knows somebody like time. Everybody has been one of those situations those guys have been in. Whether you handle that situation the way those guys did or not, it made you think about your own life in some way. That is what reality TV is meant to do. I’m not going to an island and swing from a fucking tree and starve for 30 days. I’m not going to jump off a cliff for 200k. chances are, I’m going to have a baby, I’m going to have a fight with a friend, or I’m going to get divorced. That’s actually real-life and people care about them.
Recognize the people that recognize that and applaud the people that share their lives. There’s a reason we’re all watching.