Although Giuliana and Bill Rancic make their living on TV, they originally hated the idea of starring in a reality show together. “You end up saying things like ‘you said that about me’? and ‘you rolled your eyes while I was on speaker on the phone?’” she said to us yesterday afternoon over the phone.
But the married couple quickly warmed up to the idea and ‘Giuliana & Bill’ on Style network was born. The show, which debuts August 5 at 9 pm on Style, follows the lovebirds as they make their relationship work – while on opposite sides of the country. Giuliana – an E! entertainment correspondent, lives in LA and Bill – entrepreneur and Season 1 winner on “The Apprentice” – in Chicago.
How does the entertainment reporter make the long-distance relationship work, and is she scared of the reality TV show curse that has plagued other high-profile couples?
We talk about this and more after the jump.
Tell me what we’ll get to see on this first season.
Well, a lot of people have these traditional relationships, but Bill and I commute. We see each other on the weekends, and that’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s basically all the craziness and issues that brings, but also being apart while trying to deal with these issues. There’s a lot of miscommunication, definitely a lot of emotion. That’s what they’ll see.
What’s the reason you said yes to a reality show?
We had done a special for Style called ‘Marry Me In Capri’ where they did a one-hour special on our wedding. We didn’t really know what it would entail at first. I was like ‘wait a minute, Bill, this is like the greatest wedding video we’re ever gonna get.’ It’s not gonna be like the cheesy wedding video that a lot of people end up with. So we were excited and we did it and it was a great experience. The producers were awesome, it wasn’t invasive at all. And it did really well. It as their highest rated special at the time. And a year later they were still playing it. They played it the other night at midnight, and it was their highest rated show in the day. So they came to us and asked if we wanted to do a reality show. People wanted to see a little more. We thought, ‘well why not. The wedding special was easy.’
Was it that easy?
Well, after that first episode, we saw a cut of it, and that didn’t go over too well. A lot of it we were shooting apart, so we didn’t really see what we were saying about each other until we watched the viewing of it. And it’s not easy. You end up saying things like ‘you said that about me’? and ‘you rolled your eyes while I was on speaker on the phone?’ On a regular relationship, you’re not exposed like that. And to have the luxury of seeing each other on TV, or the way you talk to each other over the phone – that’s all caught on tape.
Any anxieties about your relationship and how it will survive a reality show?
That’s the thing about reality TV. A lot of times couples put off conversations for years, they bottle up whatever their fears, anxieties and stresses are. Reality forces you to discuss those things with each other. And I think that almost accelerates problems, if you already have problems. I cannot believe how many people ask me if I’m scared of the reality TV curse. But the thing is a lot of these people who are breaking up after TV were breaking up anyway. The split was accelerated because of reality television and being forced to communicate with each other. What happens is a lot of couples who aren’t on TV kind of let it fester. So it goes on and on. Eventually it blows up – but the TV couples would have ended up apart anyways, and being on TV makes it quicker.
What made you ultimately want to do it?
So we said, we’re not gonna do this. But then we sat down, and said ‘if we’re gonna do this we’re gonna do it all the way.’ You have to know I will roll my eyes. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. And also we are used to the cameras because of the nature of our jobs. I just feel like I interview celebrities for a living and ask them about their personal lives – that’s my bread and butter. If someone wants to know about my private life I’d be a hypocrite not to show that. That’s kind of where we were coming from.
Is it weird to be in the other side of the interviews?
it’s a little weird, I gotta say. Usually people were coming up to me at E! and they would say ‘I love when you interview celebrities’ or ‘I love when you got Angelina to say this or that,’ and now when someone comes up to me, I expect them to say that, but they say ‘I’m so excited to see your show! You got married! I loved your wedding!’ I don’t know. I guess it should be weird, but it’s just kind of different. It’s cool. It’s just me being myself, which is what I also do at E! during interviews. I’m not trying to be that robotic journalist. I try to be myself.
Are you afraid of people learning too much about your personal life?
No, not really. In the second episode there’s some tears at the end. Then as the episodes, go on, especially on the season finale, things got really touchy. And there were some very hyper-emotional things going on. We really didn’t see that one coming. We shot that one recently. So it does become more emotional and we start getting used to the cameras. Well, Bill might be a little more wary of exposing too much, but he does it.
Under what circumstance would you not have done the show?
If I was trying to be like a Katie Couric, more of a hard-hitting reporter, on the evening news, then I would never have done this show. I do think you have to hide behind some type of different persona. But my job, and the job I will also want in the future, I always want to be myself. I would never take a job where I would have to fit into an anchor role. I can’t do that. I would rather retire and write, produce, or be behind the camera. That doesn’t appeal to me.
What do you say to the critics?
They’ll criticize me on the internet. They’ll say like ‘those are mindless interviews.’ But this is E! What do you want me to ask? What the celebs think of the war? We ask them what they’re wearing, their beauty secrets, why they’re so damn skinny, how they’re so skinny, who they’re dating. I mean, E! stands for entertainment. That’s what people tune in to us for. I’m not gonna start asking serious questions, so that 95% of the people tune us out. That’s why they tune in to us. That’s what I want to deliver.
What’s the most embarrassing thing filmed thus far?
There’s episode two, something happens that makes me really angry and has to do with episode one. In this episode Bill and I have a bit of a falling out. There are two conversations on that show, one of them caught me really off guard. Not so much embarrassing. Also sometimes, when we are talking and he goes in a totally different direction and the hot-blooded Italian comes out in me and it makes me kind of crazy. I just can’t believe that side is coming out on TV, with him. He’s probably thinking ‘I didn’t know that about you and now it comes out?’
What do you guys do to be romantic when you’re far apart from each other?
Bill is the master of surprises. He loves surprising people. He’ll send me gifts or flowers at the office when I least expect it. That’s more romantic to me than like, taking me to a fancy restaurant. A little something that shows up on my desk that says ‘I’m thinking about you.’ But we also talk a lot about what we’re gonna do next when we see each other. A trip we’re gonna go on, or a movie that we’re gonna save for each other to watch later. What’s romantic is planning the next weekend. When you’re apart, you don’t have time for any arguments, you’re just sort of dreamers thinking about what you’ll do when you’re together.
How often are you guys together?
Usually a few times a week. I’d probably see him Friday in Chicago. I’d fly to Chicago Friday night and I leave Monday night. So I’ll have a long weekend in Chicago and he’ll do the same. We have about four nights apart during the week.
You must love to fly.
There’s a whole episode about that. I have a horrible fear of flying. I go to a hypnotist, I’ve been to an acupuncturist. I hate flying. But there’s nothing I can do. I just have to do it. I have a husband, who unfortunately loves to fly. Not only flying, but he’s getting his pilots license. And he wants me to get into a little plane with him! It’s like a teeny airplane, smaller than my car. Only three of us could fit in there. The episode will show if I end up going in his plane. Of all the men in the world, I not only pick one I have to fly to see, but someone who is getting his pilot’s license.
Any habits that annoy you about each other?
When we go out at night I drink wine. You think I chat a lot now, I’m like super chatty Cathy. I try to be quiet but it’s hard! And with him? Bill sleeps with the television on, which I can’t stand. But I deal with it. There are so many other pet peeves. I sleep with the drapes open because I like to wake up naturally to sunlight. And Bill likes pitch black. He even wears eyeshades which are hilarious. So next thing I know it’s like noon and I don’t know what happened to me. I feel like I’ve been in a coma. That’s kind of annoying. But that’s what’s cool about long distance relationships. Nothing gets on your nerves. You’re just with each other for a couple of days. Oh! And another one, my God and the man refuses to make the bed! And he wont even help me. I’m like walking around huffing and puffing. And he’ll just stand there. Even if we’re on a rush. There is something in his genetic makeup that does not allow him to make the bed.
Who holds the remote when you guys are in bed together?
Well I’m a total techie, but he has to always be in the control of the remote. I turn to all the girlie shows, like on Style and the makeover shows. He likes all the news stuff. He can’t stand my programming so he’s in control of the remote. But that’s fine, I don’t mind.
How did he ask you out?
I interviewed him for E! and at the end of the interviews, the cameras were gone, and we just kept talking. Beforehand we were talking about how we like to run, to workout, to go running in Santa Monica, and how it’s so pretty and this and that. And so after the interview we were walking away and I’m thinking ‘this guy’s not gonna ask me out. I’m just gonna go.’ And then he goes ‘Um, Giuliana. Do you want to go workout sometime?’ All I could visualize was like Saturday morning with no makeup and my hair in a ponytail and I was like ‘No-uh. That cannot be my first date.’ So I said ‘Or drinks?’ And he said ‘Yeah, that would be even better.’ And so that was that.
Tell me about your cereal cocktail.
That comes in a later episode. I make a cereal cocktail. So bizarre. I’m a nutrition freak. I cheat all the time like a normal person. But when I’m not cheating I try to eat really well. Clean food, not processed. But the cereal cocktail is almond milk, but you do half milk and half water so you get half the calories and half the fats. I do a little bit of one cereal and a little bit of another cereal. Healthy cereal, not sugary ones. That way you can have a taste of everything.
Who is your favorite celebrity interview?
For about eight years now it’s been George Clooney. He’s the sweetest guy in the world. When the cameras go off, he’s the nicest guy. Of course he’s nice to reporters, because they’re giving him what he wants, but he’s also introducing himself to the cameraman, the producers, he engages everyone. And I love that. I think it’s such a classy thing to do. He is the number one in terms of personality and charm.
Watch the premiere of “Giuliana & Bill” on Wed., Aug. 5 at 9/8c on Style