The man behind 'Love & Marriage: Huntsville' breaks down what makes his show TV gold and what he really thinks about Martell Holt this season

The man behind 'Love & Marriage: Huntsville' breaks down what makes his show TV gold and what he really thinks about Martell Holt this season
The cast of OWN's "Love & Marriage: Huntsville."OWN
  • Carlos King is the executive producer behind some of your favorite reality TV shows.
  • He broke down what makes his shows TV gold and what he hates about filming - like when the cast lies.
  • King also shared his thoughts on "LAMH" star Martell Holt and his infidelity that caused his divorce.

Carlos King didn't earn the nickname "record breaker" for nothing.

You might not be familiar with the executive producer's name, but he's likely created those reality TV scenes you can't get out of your head. From producing an episode featuring Lil Wayne's daughter, Reginae, on MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" in 2015 to being the man behind eight seasons of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," and even the New Jersey spin off, King knows how to make good TV.

It's why OWN announced King's first-look deal with their network on Tuesday after creating his hit TV show, "Love & Marriage: Huntsville," centered on three entrepreneurial couples in Alabama whose lives, relationships and drama have played out over two seasons. (The No. 1 series for women on Saturday night just got renewed for a third season.) It's allowed King to create other fan favorites, such as "Belle Collective" and "Behind Every Man," for the network.
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Media personality and self-described King fan, Dustin Ross, spoke with the reality TV show creator earlier this month about what it takes to cast an amazing series, a few secrets from the set of "Real Housewives," and what he really thinks about "Huntsville" star Martell Holt and the infidelity scandal that has plagued the series. - Joi-Marie McKenzie

The man behind 'Love & Marriage: Huntsville' breaks down what makes his show TV gold and what he really thinks about Martell Holt this season
Melody Holt with Carlos King while filming "Love and Marriage: Huntsville."OWN

Dustin Ross: It's no secret Carlos, that you have handcrafted some of the most meticulously curated storytelling and reality television. What is it that you look for in a personal story for your cast?
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Carlos King: I was a journalism major in college. I thought I would be a reporter like Ed Gordon. [Laughs] So I'm all about the story. So having that education and background has propelled me to truly divulge into people's personal story that I feel is relatable to a mass audience...My audience has a certain expectation when it comes to my shows. They expect funny, shady, messy, but at the same time they expect the truth to unfold. When you watch "Belle Collective" and you see a woman named Marie, who's such a boss at work, and then we go home with her and she has a messy household, right? That's the stuff that people want from the shows I'm producing, and it's my job to deliver that.

Well, you're doing a great job of it because those complexities of the human experience are what endear people to your productions. What is it that intrigues you the most when you are telling these stories; it's usually from the lens of a Black woman, right? I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My mother was a housewife...so I grew up every day watching my mother, a Black woman, be the head of the household. She had a life before she had children. So me growing up witnessing that I've always been intrigued with the Black women's story. Listen, Black women are the reason why we have a new president; they make the world go around. So my role as a content creator is to provide a love letter to Black women stating that I see you, I hear you.
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The man behind 'Love & Marriage: Huntsville' breaks down what makes his show TV gold and what he really thinks about Martell Holt this season
Joe and Teresa Giudice on season one of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."Photo by Andrei Jackamets/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Yes, you can brilliantly tell these stories through the Black woman's lens, but that's not all you've done. You were also responsible for "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" seasons one and two. What do you think the most relatable part of the human experience is that kind of ties all those experiences together?

It's about relationships. I don't care if you're Black, white, green, yellow, Asian, Latino, whatever. Everybody can relate to what it's like to be in a relationship. I don't care if you're gay. I have a show on Netflix, called "Styling Hollywood," [starring celebrity stylist Jason Bolden and his home decor designing husband, Adair Curtis] about two gay Black men.

Incredible show.
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Thank you. Thank you, which was, of course my love letter to my community. So relationships are at the epicenter of all my shows.

I think that's incredible. How are you able to kind of play the game "in Hollywood," and still show up in these spaces as your authentic self?

I tell people all the time: I get paid a lot of money to be myself. Obviously, I wasn't always this confident. When you're growing up in Detroit in the 80s and 90s...and there weren't any gay Black men on television nor in the neighborhood. And if they were, they were on the down low. So I never got a chance to see the interactions. So the moment I moved from Detroit to New York City, that's when I was welcomed by a community of straight Black girls. So [one day they said], "So do you have a boyfriend?" and I was like, "Who told you I'm gay?"
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They clocked you.

They said, "Girl, it's OK. You're no longer in Detroit." And just then, that was the introduction that I understood, Oh I get to like really be myself.

The man behind 'Love & Marriage: Huntsville' breaks down what makes his show TV gold and what he really thinks about Martell Holt this season
Carlos King with the cast of "Love & Marriage: Huntsville."Carlos King
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Speaking of your shows, let's have a little fun. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. So without naming names, what made your least favorite cast member or person to work with the least favorite?

Without naming names? I do not like it when like a cast member lies on production. That's the wackest thing to do. It's the easy way out. It's to get the attention of their fans...to be on their side because as a producer, you don't see what we do. So you could only assume that Carlos King is this wizard, this puppeteer who's making things happen behind the scenes, which isn't the case at all. What is one secret that you kept or did not air for a housewife, specifically?
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You'll be shocked, it's a lot. I'll say this much, my biggest thing is you can tell me anything, real talk. I always go back to you and say, OK, are you willing to say it on camera? Nine times out of 10, they will eventually. It's 1% where they're just like, 'No and you can't tell anybody.' Most "Housewives" don't mind spilling their business. It's when they want to protect someone in their family or protect someone from the cast.

We've all heard the rumors, so for once and for all, is there anything that you want to put on the record about season nine of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion [when Phaedra Parks was confronted about spreading a rumor that Kandi Burruss wanted to drug and sexually assault Porsha Williams, which got Parks kicked off the series] and what we learned there?

I had nothing to do with it, period.
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One last question: How do you feel about Martell Holt and his fall from grace that we're witnessing happen right in front of our eyes [on "Love & Marriage?"]

Listen, I don't feel good about it. Martell is someone who I have so much respect for and again, Martell and [his estranged wife] Melody are the reasons why we're doing a show called "Love and Marriage: Huntsville." I had no idea when I first met them that they had any marital problems. Zero. When I say to you, Martell was so enamored with Melody, I was like, Oh my gosh, she got this man whipped right here.

At the end of the day, you can say what you want about Martell. He is an amazing father. And at one point in time, he truly tried to make things right. I think what everybody's witnessing is what happens when a man continuously makes a mistake and his wife is just fed up.
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But I did a wellness check with him and he's doing better. I'm going to Huntsville in a few weeks to have a one-on-one with him because I want to make sure that he knows that I'm here for him because listen, at the end of the day, just because a man makes a mistake, doesn't mean they're a bad person. And Dustin, I hope a lot of husbands or boyfriends watch what he has experienced and they check themselves and say, maybe I need to do right by my wife and my situation so that I won't end up like this.
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