Made In Staten Island: MTV's New Reality Show Debuts In January (With Two Gravanos)

MTV, whose sister network VH1 gave us the reality show Mob Wives (which fueled millions of hits on this blog), is now training the spotlight on a younger generation of mob offspring, with the new series Made in Staten Island, which has among its trio of producers Mob Wives star Karen Gravano.

Gravano, daughter of former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy (The Bull) Gravano, is also the mother of Made in Staten Island star Karina.

The show debuts January 14, and as AM New York notes, "it’ll most likely bring a flood of renewed attention to the borough along with it: buzz from those who love to watch, those who hate to watch and those who just can’t seem to look away.

"The “forgotten borough” knows this rhythm well."

“Made in Staten Island” follows a group of young Staten Islanders who "work to step out from the shadows of the once mob-driven island. These friends will either choose wisely or fall prey to the mistakes of past generations," as MTV reveals.

In the brief clip above, we get an inkling of the ground the show will cover, and it's probably what you'd guess: "We grew up surrounded by the mob, but now we’re  trying to find our own way," says one of the cast members. "What doesn't kill you makes you a boss."

There's eight cast members, and we list them below (with links to their Instagram pages, of course).

Some of the cast of the upcoming Made in Staten Island.

Karina (@karinaaseabrook) has a mafia bloodline and attitude to match. Luckily, she has the guidance of her grandfather, Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano.

Paulie (@pauliefusco) is a true hustler always striving for the top. His girlfriend, Karina, has kept him out of the street life.

Kayla(@kayla.gonzalezz) is the muscle of the crew. She has a reputation for never backing down from a good Staten Island fight.

Karina Gravano. Pic from July filming of Made In Staten Island.

Dennie (@dennieaugustine) is the “Godmutha” of the circle. She has thick skin, and learned to use her wit to get out of any situation.

Christian “C.P.” (@718cp) is a lover and a fighter. He has a big heart and swag that makes all the girls swoon.

Taylor (@taylorotoolee) is a “guy’s girl” with no tolerance for attitude or disrespect.

Joe (@joeotoole) is the “charmer of the South Shore” who is constantly tempted by the fast money from the streets.

In addition to Karen Gravano, Adam Gonzalez and Daniel Blau Rogge also executive produce the series.

Karina’s Crew 
Made in Staten Island borrows from predecessors like Jersey Shore and, of course, Mob Wives, which have all included portrayals of Italian-Americans on Staten Island.

Over the past decade many cable networks have served up versions of SI-based reality shows: OWN, the Cooking Channel, and CNBC gave the world such vehicles as Staten Island Law (2013), Vinny and Ma Eat America (2017), and Staten Island Hustle (2018).

Made in Staten Island details the doings of Karina Seabrook -- daughter of Karen Gravano -- and six of her friends as they race around the borough as a "new crop of hustlers," as AM News York termed them. They all fall in the 19-to-22 age range.

Gravano, an executive producer of the show (which was previously titled Staten Island 10310), noted that she wanted to give Karina and her friends their own platform “to show the world how another generation is evolving the turf she calls home.”

“As parents, a lot of us grew up in that era where being related to someone in the streets or knowing someone was a cool thing,” Gravano, 46, said of the show’s premise.

“But unfortunately, all of us went through our own troubles — who went off to prison — so now, this generation of kids are trying to look for a way out.”

Karina and several other cast members grew up on Staten Island with parents who were connected to organized crime. In fact, the Made In SI cast reminds Gravano of her own friends, with whom she grew up in Bulls Head.

Karina’s crew has it’s own “over-the-top personalities,” she  noted, that will make them perfect for reality TV.

Mob Wives entered the scene in 2011 with 2.2 million total viewers, a 92 percent increase over the network’s average prime-time ratings. Jersey Shore, which includes three Staten Island natives, drew massive ratings, pulling in 8.9 million average viewers in 2009. (The show was rebooted in 2018 after its original run ended in 2012.)

Many reality shows have a strong Staten Island flavor running through them....

 “Staten Island is its own little world,” said Mob Wife Renee Graziano, 49. “The reason I think we are as successful as we are is because we give it to you raw. No holding back; well I speak for myself on that one.”

 Added Karen: “Let me just put it to you this way, Staten Island is like one big family. Everybody knows everybody’s business. Everybody knows everybody’s history, whether you like them or not.”

 “Today’s society has become very fast paced, but, uniquely, on Staten Island, we still hold that culture very valuable. It’s a different Italian food store on every corner; who’s going over whose house around the holidays? We see the kids experience that on this show.”

Some SI locals, however, have had their fill of reality shows, and haven’t held back when it comes to expressing their opinion, noting how they feel misrepresented and embarrassed by how SI natives can be portrayed.

Mob Wives was canceled in 2015 after six seasons, a respectable run in the subgenre of SI-based reality shows, which included lots of one-shot wonders: Staten Island Cakes ran on WE TV in 2011, Hair Goddess in 2017, and Hustle this year. That last one finished out its premiere run via the “on demand” section of your DVR before it was dropped.