Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mafia meets "Real Housewives" in VH1 series

Look what a punch in the face did for Snooki and MTV's "Jersey Shore" -- imagine what a barroom strangulation is going to do to kick up interest in a new reality series called "Mob Wives."
The first preview of "Mob Wives" hit the Web yesterday, including a scene that starts out as a screaming match between two mobsters' wives in a Staten Island bar and ends abruptly with one woman wrapping her hands around the other's neck.
Part "Growing Up Gotti," part "Real Housewives," the series from VH1 -- the sister network of MTV -- includes in the cast the daughter of mob snitch Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano.
STRANGLER: Renee Graziano (left) gets the worst of it from Drita D'avanzo (right) in 'Mob Wives' fight scene.
STRANGLER: Renee Graziano (left) gets the worst of it from Drita D'avanzo (right) in "Mob Wives" fight scene.
MUG SHOT: 'Sammy the Bull's' daughter, Karen
MUG SHOT: "Sammy the Bull's" daughter, Karen
The 90-second trailer is the first look at the series that is being produced by Harvey Weinstein's TV company -- the maker of "Project Runway" -- and is set to debut in mid-April.
The idea behind the series is to show how the wives -- and daughters -- of the Mafia live when their men are behind bars.
All four women in the cast live on Staten Island, and their mob credentials are impeccable.
* Karen Gravano, daughter of mob turncoat Sammy Gravano, moved to Arizona with her father and the rest of her family as part of the federal government's witness protection program in the mid-1990s.
But her father could not stay on the straight and narrow and, in 2002, pleaded guilty to running a drug ring that sold 30,000 doses of ecstasy a week.
Karen, her brother and mother were also implicated in the drug ring and Karen served three years of probation.
Now, she's moved back on Staten Island, where the daughter of the mob's most famous rat is not exactly welcome.
In what will likely be one of the biggest flash points in the series, Karen is the former girl friend of the husband of another "Wives" cast member, Drita D'avanzo.
* Renee Graziano is the daughter of Anthony "The Little Guy" Graziano, the reputed consigliere in the Bonanno crime family.
She is divorced from mobster Hector Pagan Jr., who was convicted of running a huge marijuana distribution ring -- with the aid of Renee's sister, Jennifer, then a grad student at NYU.
Jennifer Graziano is credited as the creator and executive producer of "Mob Wives."
* Drita D'avanzo is married to Bonanno family soldier Lee D'avanzo, who dated Karen Gravano before getting married.
Lee is currently serving time in federal prison for drug and bank robbery charges.
It is Drita who goes after Renee in the strangulation scene, though the reason is not clear.
* Carla Facciolo grew up around the mob in Brooklyn, but she thought she was getting out of the life when she married Joey Ferragamo, a stockbroker, according to a biography posted yesterday on the VH1 Web site.
It turns out that her husband wasn't what he appeared to be.
In 2006, he was convicted of running a boiler room operation and sentenced to 88 months in prison in a case brought by then-federal prosecutor, now New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


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