Finest: Carlos King

In chess, the king is the most important piece. In reality television, the same rule applies, especially in the case of Carlos King. This producing powerhouse has been making all the right moves in a career that seems unstoppable.

The Detroit native started off as a self-proclaimed “insatiable intern” on a series of studio and staged shows including The View, 20/20, Primetime Live and 106 & Park. After valuable time as a production assistant at BET Networks, King got an offer to produce The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and taking that job became the first of countless career power moves.

“When I stepped into reality television, it became all about the opportunity to engage in storytelling,” he says. That talent eventually helped King realize a childhood dream: working alongside Oprah Winfrey, as a producer on Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes. “I enjoyed that Oprah owned up to being a boss. She was unapologetic. That was something I took from her.”

Now, a boss in his own right, King is not only CEO of Kingdom Reign Entertainment but also co-executive producer on the highly rated (and highly controversial) show Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. Regarding the hot button hit, King says, “I love the fact that I get to go to work every day and shape people’s lives. People may say that I play a part in making people look bad on television, but it’s the complete opposite. This position allows me to give these women a voice to tell their real-life stories, and people want to see this on television.”

King credits much of his career’s progression to his sexuality. “I wouldn’t be where I am [professionally] if I wasn’t gay,” he says. “It’s what’s gotten me in the door. My personal niche is producing women. They don’t feel threatened and always seem to find comfort in trusting me as a nonjudgmental best-friend type. They tell me everything, and that’s needed to be a great producer—and the males respect my honesty and openness, too.”

What’s next? “After season 2 of LHHA wraps, I’ll be developing some shows on my own. I’m good at it and I’m not ashamed to say that. Like Janet Jackson once said, ‘What I can’t do, I will stay away from, but what I can do, I’ll make sure I do it better than anyone else.’”
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Carlos King Talks Reality TV On-Air Fights

Are the conversations and relationships we see on reality TV authentic? Meh, fans may never get to the bottom of that one, but viewers can believe the infamous fights that they see between reality TV stars.

The fights are real and some seem predictable after editing, but how prepared are show producers for the drink splashing, bottle throwing and hair pulling? Are they worried about their own safety while the cameras roll?

S2S talked with producer Carlos King, who worked on all four seasons of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and currently is an Executive Producer for VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” for his behind-the-scene perspective on reality fights.

Carlos was on set when Sheree Whitfield tugged at Kim Zolciak’s wig on Season 1 of “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “That was my first time experiencing some hand-on-body action. So as a producer we’re all just so shocked and surprised it was happening,” Carlos recalled. “And of course if it ever got physical we would break it up.”

Once they get to know their cast, the producers can start to anticipate their actions.

“When it comes to ‘Love and Hip-Hop’ we have security on set. So whenever someone gets physical, security jumps in and kind of breaks the fights up. But on ‘Housewives’ we don’t have security on set because it’s just not that type of show,” Carlos told S2S.

Fans of “LHHATL” got a glimpse of Carlos de-escalating K.Michelle after her table shaking argument with Karlie Redd in episode five, but the people you see stepping between fighting divas aren’t always producers.

“The security guards are insured,” Carlos explained. “Whereas the producers are more focused on telling the story, and if we get hit with a glass, you know, that’s a whole big issue. So that’s why we have security on set.”

While Carlos insists that reality shows are not scripted, he says his job entails getting the cast to confront difficult situations and people they may usually avoid. This role leads to producers being blamed for instigating situations that lead to fights.

Carlos is proud that he has not been a part of a show that is known for fighting, but it “LHHATL” has its moments. Hopefully, he won’t face anything as dangerous as Kimbella and Erica Mena’s fight on “Love and Hip Hop” New York where champagne flutes were thrown.

“I didn’t work on ‘Love and Hip Hop’ New York so when those glasses were being thrown, I was like, ‘How would I deal with that?’ But that’s real life stuff. If the cameras weren’t rolling I’m sure that they would be throwing more than just glasses.”

The “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reunion show is sure to be drama-filled, but the question is: Will anyone put ‘dem paws’ on their cast mate?