We never saw this coming: Jeff Lewis is suing Jenni Pulos, his trusted assistant and, seemingly, close friend who co-stars with Lewis on his Bravo reality series “Flipping Out.”
At issue is a forthcoming book Jenni has written in which Jenni identifies various “life lessons” she’s learned from her relationship with Jeff.
The details of this sudden, surprise blow-up between these two is being reported here — on the Deadline.com Website.
According to the story, papers filed by Lewis and his production company are accusing Jenni of violating confidentiality agreements she signed that would prohibit her from writing a book revealing what it’s like to work for Jeff. This book — co-written with a professional writer named Laura Morton — is due out in August, the Deadline story says.
The book was to have this title: “Hang In There, Baby: What One Of The World’s Most Difficult Bosses Taught Me About life, Work And Love.” Certainly, the title would indicate that the book is about Jenni’s experiences with Jeff, whose fussiness and close attention to detail forms the basis for the Bravo show. According to the Deadline story, the title has been shortened to just “Hang in There, Baby.” Moreover, the story says the Lewis lawsuit is claiming Pulos told Lewis the book as nothing to do with him. However, her publishing company won’t let him see an advance copy.
In case you’re unfamiliar with “Flipping Out,” the show — seen for the last few summers on Bravo — is a reality series about Lewis’ life as a real estate investor, contractor and interior designer who purchases fixer-upper homes in and around Los Angeles and “flips” them for profit. But the show is as much about the houses he transforms as it is about his working life, in which he supervises assistant Jenni and other underlings, including a colorful housekeeper named Zoila Chavez.
As his assistant and gal Friday, Pulos puts up with a lot from the combustible, obsessive Lewis, but despite the challenges — and his sometimes harsh treatment of her — the two seem, most of the time, like close friends on the show.
The Deadline story has no comment or reaction from Pulos, so we’ll have to wait and see if this lawsuit — which sounds like a serious thing (the Deadline story contains a link to the actual papers filed in the suit) — will derail their friendship, their business relationship or their show.
Our take: If this rift between Jeff and Jenni is the real deal, then the prospect of “Flipping Out” biting the dust for this reason is unfortunate. Of course, this is reality television, which means the producers of this show could exploit the conflict for next season’s episodes.
We’re also not sure why Jeff would be bothered by such a book in the first place, except that he is the kind of control freak who probably wants some measure of editorial control over this thing. Truth is: We doubt Jenni will reveal anything we don’t already know about working with Jeff, since their working relationship is already shown in detail on TV. And if she has any revelations we haven’t seen, it’s doubtful they’ll be that surprising, given what we know already. Plus, while we wish her well with her book, we doubt a book by Jenni Pulos called “Hang in There, Baby” will sell so many copies that the book’s contents should worry Jeff Lewis.
But, as “Flipping Out” fans know well, Jeff’s a worrier, even when he doesn’t need to be.