“Jersey Shore” exec producer SallyAnn Salsano is a superstar of reality TV. In the past year she’s juggled multiple shows for MTV, Lifetime, VH1 and Spike TV.
But Salsano had no hesitation about diving in to another project, this time for TV Guide Network, after she and the cabler’s programming topper, Diane Robina, bonded over their shared addiction to a small but significant luxury: the mani-pedi.
“I’m a girl who works 24/7,” Salsano says. “I may not eat, I may not sleep, but whatever I’m doing, my nails will always be polished. If I’m holed up in a control room, then someone is coming to me. You have so little control in your life — I feel that if my nails are polished, the world’s a better place.”
A friend of a friend who knew of Salsano’s passion for the buff and polish suggested she check out Katie Cazorla, owner of an over-the-top nail salon in Sherman Oaks, as a potential subject for a show. Salsano went to the salon, the Painted Nail, undercover a few times and realized that Cazorla and her colorful entourage would be money on video.
“By the time I finally told her, ‘I’m a reality TV producer,’ I already know that this was for real and would be a show for me,” Salsano says.
When Salsano and Robina met for a casual meeting more than a year ago, Salsano didn’t think the show that became “Nail Files” was right for the Lionsgate-owned cabler. But Robina impressed her by asking her to pitch the show that she was most eager to tackle.
Salsano and Robina wound up having a long discussion about how the mani-pedi is the ultimate indulgence but is also a great leveler for women because they are so affordable and accessible. Beyond nailing the “Nail Files” question, Robina and Salsano hit it off on a deeply personal level. As Robina explains: “I’m an Italian girl from New Jersey … so we have similar backgrounds.”
Salsano is so enamored of “Nail Files” that she jetted in to L.A. for a little more than a day last week from Florence, Italy, where she’s lensing the next edition of “Jersey Shore,” to take part in a promo event for the show at the salon.
Salsano says she’s impressed by the launch campaign that TV Guide has undertaken for “Nail Files,” which bows June 21.
“They’re putting everything they’ve got behind it,” Salsano says. “You never know if a show is going to work but everyone here is willing to say ‘I’m going to die trying.’?”