The scoop on how WXIA-TV scored “Real Housewives” star NeNe Leakes as a summer correspondent


Beginning next month, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member NeNe Leakes will start a new summer job.

As a special correspondent for 11Alive’s morning news, broadcast weekdays from 5 to 7 a.m.

“We’ve had her in for interviews here at the station several times and she’s always had an interest in what we do here,” WXIA-TV’s vice-president of news and information Ellen Crooke tells Intel. “She has a bigger than life personality. It’s going to be a lot of fun. She won’t be doing serious news stories. She’ll be doing fun features for us.”

And the “Real Housewives” cameras will be rolling throughout Leakes’ summer gig at the station, gathering footage for season three of the hit Bravo series set to air later this year.

Leakes and Crooke are scheduled to have a brainstorming session on Wednesday to discuss what types of stories they’ll be creating for Leakes’ segments.

 Crooke says Leakes, along with an assigned producer and a photojournalist, will likely create half a dozen pieces for viewers throughout the summer.

“She’s got her finger on the pulse on entertainment, the city’s great restaurants and popular culture in general,” Crooke explains. “She’s expressed an interest in interviewing some of the famous Atlantans who live here. We’re going to explore that. Plus, she’s really funny. It should make for great TV.”

While Bravo is a sister station to 11Alive’s NBC affiliate, Crooke still had to jump through some bureaucratic hoops to finalize the deal since Gannett owns the station.

“Everyone involved had to get on the same page,” she says. “But once that happened, everyone across the board thought this was a great idea.”