Monday, April 18, 2011

VH1 Debuts New Reality Show About 'Mob Wives'

(L-R) are, Renee Graziano (daughter
of Anthony Graziano), Drita D’Avanzo
(wife of Lee D’Avanzo), Carla Facciolo
(wife of Joey Ferragamo) and Karen
Gravano (daughter of Sammy “Bull”
Gravano).
VH1 has picked up "Mob Wives," a new reality series created by Jennifer Graziano, a daughter of Bonanno capo Anthony (T.G.) Graziano (according to Reality Wives). This is Ms. Graziano's first producer/writer credit, according to IMDB.com.

The cast list, as indicated on Bourgy (a website that follows reality shows), is Renee Graziano (another daughter of Anthony Graziano?), Drita D’Avanzo (wife of Lee D’Avanzo), Carla Facciolo (wife of Joey Ferragamo) and Karen Gravano (daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano).

So "Mob Wives & Daughters" would be a better title, no?
(A little nugget we dug up about one of the "mobsters," which, if true, should make for a bit more interesting show: The New York Daily News reported that Lee D’Avanzo was romantically linked to the daughter of Sammy "Bull" Gravano, who, along with her brother, pleaded guilty to their role in the operation set up by their father that peddled drugs to kids, from AmericanMafia.com.)

"The cameras will follow these four struggling "allegedly" associated women who have to pick up the pieces and carry on after their husbands or fathers face time in prison for Mob-related activities," according to ET online.

VH1 states, "The women featured in the series are compelling, real-life characters with amazing stories to tell. Viewers will get a chance to follow them as they enter the next chapter of their lives."
"Mob Wives" premiered Sunday April 17 on VH1.
The daughter of Mob trigger man-turned-goverment turncoat Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano was the first woman cast, according to a post on Reality Wives.

Aside from Gravano, Graziano is the only mobster in the cast list we were aware of.

According to Wikipedia, law enforcement believes Graziano was a Bonanno captain by the late 1980s, after the imprisonment of longtime family Boss Philip "Rusty" Rastelli, gangland slaying of Dominick Napolitano andJoseph "Big Joey" Massino began to run the show. At the time, Graziano was believed to be operating out of the Staten Island faction of the Bonanno crime family, as well as profiting from labor racketeering, extortion, loansharking,narcotics and murder.

In 1990, Graziano pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $250,000.

After his 1994 release from prison, Graziano expanded his operations inQueens and Brooklyn and assumed leadership with Spero of the Brooklyn faction. Graziano continued to maintain a close relationship with Massino, who had become the official family boss in 1991 after Rastelli's death in prison.

In 1994, Graziano ordered his crew to find and kill the infamous John Pappa and Calvin Hennigar, both associated with the Colombo crime family. On one occasion, the two men had fired shots inside a topless bar in Staten Islandowned by Graziano, wounding one patron. An enraged Graziano had sent his Brooklyn crew hunting for them. However, Graziano later met with Colombo family representatives and agreed on a settlement to the problem. Graziano called off the murder order, but in 2002 he would be indicted on two counts of murder conspiracy due to this episode.

In early 2001, Massino needed to appoint a new consigliere because Spero had been sentenced to prison for life. On February 15, 2001, Graziano and Massino flew to Mexico for a meeting. The two men took this foreign trip to avoid FBI observation and surveillance. Once in Mexico, Massino appointed Graziano as the new Bonanno consigliere.

In March 2002, Graziano was indicted on separate racketeering charges in New York and Florida. On July 18, 2003, Graziano was sentenced to 11 years in prison on the Florida charges. On November 13, 2003, Graziano was sentenced to nine years in prison on the New York charges.At the New York sentencing, Graziano's lawyer asked for leniency, saying that his client had diabetes and had survived two episodes of bladder cancer.

As of June 2010, Graziano is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution Butner in Butner, North Carolina. He is serving his two sentences at the same time. Graziano's projected release date is January 6, 2012. Just in time for the second season!


Meet VH1′s ‘Mob Wives’ (click to see promo clip)

From the site: "Mob Wives focuses on four women from Staten Island who have to carry on after their husbands or fathers go to jail for mob-related shenanigans. One of the cast members is Karen Gravano, daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano ( a notorious mafia informant). From the looks of the trailer, it seems Mob Wives is a smidge more gratuitous with the violence than our New Jersey friends over on Bravo are. Did you really expect the abuse to stop at verbal? There is choking, choking to the point where you’re forced to take a mental snapshot of the victim’s face. It’s terrifying!

"I have one question: How the hell are they getting away with this show? The mafia is historically very hush-hush about their business, so I can’t imagine many mob bosses are eagerly anticipating this premiere."

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