The Ex Wives of Rock have nothing but love for the Slice TV network, but would dearly adore to appease their fans with a return to the air.
The unexpected cancellation of the reality show has quickly mobilized the show’s throng of dedicated fans to embark on a renewal campaign as they organize online petitions and bombard the network with emails, phone calls, and comments on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Reality shows come and go, some overnight with barely a notice – the fact that EWoR’s removal from the air has quite literally spawned outrage, with fans threatening to drop the cable channel; speaks volumes for the show and its relateable group of women.
Last year saw the series enter its third season, with Sharise Neil (ex-wife of Motley Crue front man Vince Neil), Athena Kottak (ex-wife of Scorpions’ drummer James Kottak), Susan ‘Blue’ Ashley (ex-wife of Warrant bassist Jerry Dixon) and Bobbie Brown (ex-wife of Warrant front man Janie Layne). The show, which is based on the everyday lives of these four women and their close knit friendships that began 25 years ago, is cleverly narrated by Shannon Tweed, wife of KISS founder and bassist Gene Simmons. Tweed adds to the genuine nature of the show with a biting sense of sarcasm and a side order of humor, as she isn’t afraid to poke fun or point out when she feels the women have made a mistake in judgement.
Whereas shows like Vanderpump Rules and the Housewives of Beverly Hills – also airing on the Slice network with glamorized, dramatized, and unattainable lifestyles of the rich and snooty – Ex Wives instead has a down to earth quality that REAL women can identify with. The life hurdles they encounter are the hurdles we all face in life – love and loss, health problems, financial issues, family matters, miscommunications, and general ups and downs. It’s what makes viewers feel that they actually know these women, and as though they’re part of the family as they welcome them into their living rooms each week via their television sets. And the fact that they’re so accessible via social media, encouraging fan interaction while modestly exposing their strengths and weaknesses, is a testament to the fact that they’re not on a star trip. It also explains why fans feel drawn to them.
“We’re receiving messages and emails from fans saying they feel hurt and asking us what they can do to get us back onto the air,” says Blue. “The fans know this is real, that the friendships have existed for over 20 years. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we show up for each other. That’s what friends do and that’s what they love about us.”
Undoubtedly it’s this very connection that has caused fans to reach out to the women over the past three years, to express concern, dole out or ask for advice, and even offer words of thanks for helping them through their own ordeals. The most prominent example of this is Athena Kottak’s battle with alcohol and her ultimate comeback. Her story has provided immense inspiration for those afflicted with the same problem, and has created a palpable bond that causes fans to write to her on an ongoing basis. Others write to Sharise to commend her business sense, some target Blue to express concern for her health issue, while others cozy up to Bobbie to discuss boyfriend issues or their shared experience with a hair pulling disorder. Thus, the women strongly feel that the show has a give and take quality to it, such that the love they have for their supportive fans is as big and real as the love their fans have for them.
As Athena said, “I feel that we get what we give. There’s a lot to be said for this show because it goes beyond just being a show. It’s helped each of us, just as much as it’s helped the fans.”
Indeed, viewers know this to be true. Thus, the uprising over the show’s unfortunate and untimely cancellation.
Why untimely? Because Season Three had left certain problems without answers, as life often does – problems that would have continued to be explored within Season Four. They are the same types of problems that fans also have, suffer with, struggle with, and need answers to. And they look to the Ex Wives for their inspiration. Now, with the failure to renew the series, fans feel lost in limbo. They didn’t just lose their favourite show, they lost their friends, their therapy, and their feeling of community.
Given the problems that were left unaddressed in Season Three, Blue acknowledged that fans feel as though they weren’t given any closure and perhaps it’s one of the reasons for their current unrest. “I think that if fans were given even just one more season, they would be happy with that and might stop being so angry. Because right now they’re asking, ‘what happened?’”
Nevertheless, these cliff hangers, so to speak, were not a deliberate thing. It was just a matter of life having yet to provide the answers, and is reinforcement that what we see on this show is real. “Even we don’t know what happened or how it ends,” Bobbie said, “because some things we’re still dealing with.”
The women feel humbled by the fact that viewers are so invested in their lives that they actually WANT to know what happened and if their ‘friends’ are going to be ok. “It’s very flattering,” Sharise commented. “And very humbling,” Bobbie continued, “to read emails of 5 paragraphs describing how a certain episode inspired them to do something, or their child to do something.”
“Or to read that you’ve saved someone’s life,” added Athena, referring to her decision to seek sobriety and unknowingly yet ultimately influencing some viewers to do the same.
“We love Slice, they were amazing to us and we were happy there,” Bobbie explained. “We have no issues with Slice. But now the fans feel blindsided by the news and they’re not ready to let us go.”
“This show has been an amazing experience,” Sharise added. “But it’s the fan outpouring that has really filled my heart with love, and it’s something I’ll never, ever forget.”
The women are undeniably taken aback by the sheer amount of viewer interaction they have received as a result of EWoR, but are even more astounded by the overwhelming fan reaction to news of the show’s abrupt end.
“I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody because this was shocking to me. I think this show has the most loyal and coolest fans ever,” Athena said. “I have always heard from fans throughout the show, but not until it stopped airing did I truly realize how it affected people. It just blows my mind, and I appreciate everything that I got from them as well.”
“The fact that people embraced us and let us into their homes is such a blessing, and I feel grateful,” said Bobbie.
Producers Lorraine Lewis and Lisa Brucker echoed similar sentiments of shock, gratitude, and a sense of immense kinship that arose, not only between the cast and fans but also between the women themselves. Lewis emotionally commented on the show’s healing experience as she navigated the waters of her own divorce, and she is entirely grateful to the fans that helped make the series a success.
With a little luck and a whole lot of fan support behind the online campaign to renew Ex Wives of Rock, chances are that it could be a success once again. If so, we as fans will identify with Blue as her health scare plays out, and will learn from Sharise as she steers her clothing design business on her own. We’ll continue to root for Athena as she rocks the world as a drummer while delicately balancing health problems and her unpredictable ex. And we’ll support Bobbie through her affairs of the heart and her battle with Trichotillomania. Why? Because it’s not just THEIR lives, they are a reflection of OUR lives. And all of our lives deserve to live on!
If you feel the same way, let your voice be heard. Support the fan promoted campaign.