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White House gate-crasher to star in "Real Housewives"

Executives at the Bravo network took a long time deciding whether to go ahead with its "Real Housewives" series based in Washington after one of its stars crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner, its programming chief said.

The network said Tuesday it was going ahead with the series featuring Michaele Salahi, starting Aug. 5.

Bravo was nearly at the end of filming the latest installment of its "Real Housewives" franchise in November when Salahi and her husband, Tareq, talked their way into the White House affair. The embarrassment forced the White House to tighten security restrictions.

The network could either go ahead with the series or scrap the season all together, Andy Cohen, the top programming executive, said Tuesday. There was no way at that stage to simply replace her, he said.

"It was a long, engaged process" to decide on going ahead, he said. "There were many, many serious conversations. I think when everyone sees the show they'll agree it was the right thing."

The gate-crashing incident will be dealt with in the series toward the end of its run, Cohen said.

"It's not the Salahi show," he said. "She's one of five women."

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