THE cast of Real Housewives of South County Dublin is jetting off on a luxury skiing holiday to kickstart the most anticipated reality show of the New Year.
Champagne socialites Lisa Murphy and Virginia Macari, 'Dr Botox' Danielle Meagher and self-made millionairess Jo Jackson will fly to the French Alps this February where they will spend a week in a five-star chalet getting to know each other under the camera's watchful eye for their new TV show.
Producers are predicting sparks, tears and scandal as the ladies who lunch prove their lives are not all about manicures and red carpet events.
Already Danielle Meagher has flown to a top-class ski resort in Villeneuve, France, to brush up on her skills "so as not to be shown up in front of the other women".
Speaking from her intensive training course in Ecole de ski Francaise Villeneuve, where she is been tutored daily by her own private instructor, the blonde socialite describes how she has spent her Christmas and New Year preparing for the show: "I have been skiing seven hours a day every day. I am really competitive and I want to be the best skier on the slopes when I head off with the other women.
"I don't have my Botox until the end of January so I am working like a demon on the slopes in the meantime. It also helps that the ski instructors are the best looking in the world," she added.
Meanwhile the show's director and executive producer John Norton is on the look-out for two more high-profile women in their 30s and 40s to take part in the show.
A number of Dublin's well-heeled women have been shortlisted and will be approached in the coming weeks. Names that are currently being looked at include model and TV presenter Gillian Quinn, restaurateur Martina Fox, communications MD Sharon Bannerton and PR queen Valerie Roe.
Producers say the ideal candidates will be "glamorous women, who live high-flying lifestyles and who also have children in their teens or 20s".
One woman whom TV executives are keen to talk to is Gill Ronan, new owner of top restaurant Town Bar and Grill. The restaurateur is the sister of property developer Johnny Ronan and has recently being making her own waves on Dublin's social scene since taking over the Kildare Street restaurant.
Norton, who was behind Fade Street and Celebrity Salon, says he hopes to emulate the success of the massive hit Real Housewives shows in America, which has made the shows' leading ladies huge stars in the US.
"We looked at the American version and thought we could make it work here. But we will be taking a very Irish approach to this. First of all we are looking for great characters for people to engage with. It won't be car crash TV like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It will give people a chance to see what life is really like living in these social circles."
The show will culminate in Lisa Murphy and Gerald Kean's televised real-life wedding in June.