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‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Premiere to Get Facebook Live Sideshow

Can fans of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” walk and chew gum at the same time?

The NBCUniversal-owned cabler, for next Sunday’s premiere of season 7 of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” will test the multitasking powers of the reality franchise’s hardcore base with an unusual stunt: It will air a live talk show on Facebook Live about the episode concurrently with the TV broadcast on the East Coast.

Bravo Media is producing a two-camera livestream watch party with the network’s “The People’s Couch” hosts Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard during the “RHONJ” telecast, shot from the New Jersey home of cast member Melissa Gorga. The Facebook Live event also will feature Gorga and and fellow “Housewives” star Teresa Giudice discussing the episode following the TV airing.

The live-streaming special will be available to watch directly on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” Facebook page and on bravotv.com, starting at 7:45 p.m. Eastern on July 10, before the season 7 premiere at 8 p.m. ET.

The 15-minute preshow will feature Goldman and Howard recapping where season 6 left off in 2014 and sharing teasers for the upcoming run. Then, the duo will watch the episode along with fans and comment throughout in the style of “People’s Couch.”

Immediately following the episode, Bravo will live-stream a 30-minute chat with Gorga and Giudice, who will share their reactions to the episode and respond to fan questions.

“We’re making this premiere a big event,” said Ellen Stone, executive VP of marketing for Bravo and Oxygen Media. “We’ve always been gung-ho about Facebook’s video platforms — we’ve seen incredible stickiness with them.”

Bravo has experimented with Facebook Live with “Watch What Happens Live” aftershows over the past several months, and has seen increased engagement each time, according to Stone, with hundreds of thousands of views.

As for whether “Real Housewives of New Jersey” viewers will be able to coherently juggle between two live video screens, Stone insisted that Bravo regularly sees dual-screen and sometimes even triple-screen usage among viewers.

“Everything is an enhancement to the show,” Stone said. “It’s not meant to take away from the show at all. We’re just giving everyone the experience they want to have.”

For Facebook, which is spending millions to lure media companies and celebs to broadcast on the live-video platform, the Bravo event is right up its alley: It’s another example of how traditional entertainment companies can tap into the social service’s massive user base with live programming. Facebook loves live video because users are generally highly engaged with it, and it keeps users on the platform for longer periods of time.

Bravo will promote the live-stream event across its 16 million followers on Facebook, which includes 1.4 million for “RHONJ” alone, as well as the Facebook pages of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” talent.

Fans can visit the “RHONJ” Facebook page now to leave their questions for Melissa and Teresa to see if they get answered during the aftershow. They can also chime in live during the stream on Facebook or on Bravotv.com to ask them a question during the Facebook Live event.

Bravo does not have any advertising component for the live-streaming talk show on Facebook and Bravotv.com. “We wanted to go pure social on this,” Stone said. “The goal is to get people into the show, but this is really about live tune-in.”

In addition to reeling in fans in real time, Bravo will archive the live-stream so they can go back and watch (or rewatch) it later. More info on the “RHONJ” live stream is available on Bravotv.com.

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