Meet the Original JWoww and Snooki, Would-Be Stars of Bridge & Tunnel

Brianna and Gabriella almost escaped from Staten Island. But MTV pulled the plug on the original Jersey Shore

The psychic was right. On September 22, 2010, producers learned that Bridge & Tunnel was officially shelved. One week later, longtime MTV execs Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley announced their departure from the network.

As the president of programming, DiSanto oversaw the zeitgeists of Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant. The former had just wrapped shooting its third season; and now the latter's second season would debut on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, filling Bridge & Tunnel's time slot.

"It was probably the best thing that it didn't air," says DJ Johnny Feva. "The show is pretty much what you would expect," wrote the blog Staten Island Dump. "Staten Islanders acting like assholes. Thank Jesus that your children don't have to grow up in a world where these people represent their hometown." (The Staten Island Borough President's Office would not respond to requests for comment.)

Reportedly, the reasoning behind dismissing Bridge & Tunnel at the eleventh hour was that the premise was now too similar to Jersey Shore's. The network supposedly didn't want to be the next Bravo, a business built on programming franchises like Real Housewives and Top Chef. Then, this past April, under a new regime, MTV would announce that it had greenlit two 12-episode Jersey Shore spin-offs, one starring Pauly D and one co-starring Snooki and JWoww. The following month, the Situation landed a separate development deal with the station. (MTV representatives could not be reached for comment.)

At first, the DeBartoli sisters bought a laptop and started a Bridge & Tunnel Facebook fan page. They gained 10 pounds. They didn’t realize they were still contractually forbidden from talking publicly about Bridge & Tunnel even though it didn't air, so they spoke about it on camera. “The trailer does look like all we do is hook up with a bunch of guys and punch people in the face,” Brianna told Chance TV. “I look like the bitch, it’s terrible,” Gabriella acknowledged grinning.

But they're innately stars. Brianna was recently approached for another reality show. "It was about this guido girl trying to not be a guido anymore," she recalls. "She had to stop drinking, stop smoking, start covering up her boobs—and I had to be the best friend that was like the bad influence on her." The idea was stupid, Brianna thought, but she couldn't consider it either way. Both Gabriella and Michelle have been approached to model, but had to refuse. Even though the show wasn't broadcast, contracted B&T cast members did get paid between $1,500 and $2,000 an episode. But the DeBartolis still had to find jobs. Brianna called and confirmed food orders at MyPizza.com until quitting this past Saturday. "That's pretty much what I'm doing with my life since the show has left. I just went downhill." (Within two days, she scored a new job as a restaurant bartender.)

"I just recently completely left the hair industry—I'm over it," Gabriella says. We’re back at E Squared. "Until I figure out my next move," she explains, "I'm an executive assistant ... CEO ... some administrative—some pretty word for a secretary."

"Administrative assistant?" offers Brianna helpfully.

"CEO is in it!" Gabriella insists. "Whatever it is, I like it—it sounds classy!"

Gabby and Michelle Ippolito are now famous friends. Michelle works in a Manhattan entertainment law office. She just got engaged to 27-year-old Adam, a Duke grad who once had a blowout and says he frustratingly gets mistaken for the Situation even though he's far better looking; so far two reality dating shows have solicited the couple, including the one that hatched Snooki. Joe Bonomo attends New York Law full-time, clerks for a Kings County judge, hits the gym twice a day, and recently bought a Harley. Jimmy Gambardella, whose Twitter handle is @LadykillerJMG, toils away in construction, earns $150 plus tips a night to dance at sweet-16 parties, and recently auditioned for an American Pie reunion, but didn't get the part.

Brianna still aspires to be a music producer. Her MTV persona would have made that easier. "Now I have no connections. I have no money. I'm working a dead-end job to get the money to live my dream. I'm back to before I got that phone call. Screaming at the mall. I should have kept my job." She's all too aware of her situation. "It was all a big tease."

Gabriella believes this is just a temporary setback. "We still have these dreams. We're still gonna get them. It's just a slower process."

Brianna is engaged, not to Timmy, but Billy Bonamo. They met last December 4, her birthday eve, at Staten Island's Lava Lounge. Billy was drunk, he hit on her, and she thought he was cute. Four months later, Billy proposed. They were arguing about a male buddy she'd kissed before they met. She tried to drive away in her Scion but had an anxiety attack. "I'm in the midst of breaking up with him," Brianna remembers. Standing by her headlight, Billy beckoned her over. "I'm like, 'Why do you need to see me right now? I'm yelling at you!' " Billy descended to one knee, pulled out a ring, and said, verbatim: "Shut. The Fuck. Up. And Marry Me." Brianna said yes.

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47 comments
VectoriaBac
VectoriaBac

I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from : BidsBit.com

Christopher12
Christopher12

The start-up cost for my entire brewing kit was just over $200, but I do believe I did get a couple of things I didn't necessarily need at the time. Essentially it comes down to ingredients and materials. The materials are the bulk of your costs up front. But the idea is that you can reuse most, if not all, of your materials for future batches. Google was my friend in helping me find a local home brew shop here in Fullerton, Ca. I found Addison Homebrew Provisions to be a very helpful in gathering the best materials for my first brew.

NYCPex
NYCPex

I'm frankly surprised MTV hasn't aired this yet. Barbaric baboons with no manners and less sense behaving badly? It's their M.O. I mean, the nation's appetite for drunk bimbos taking their hair extensions out and diving into a swimming pool in their dresses has not yet been sated. C'mon, MTV, you can't deprive of us this.

Seriously, if you want to see a documentary about misbehaving chimps, just see "Project Nim."

Ted Ball
Ted Ball

I moved to staten island from miami and could'nt move away fast enough, the people there are the biggest bunch of morons you'll ever have the displeasure of encountering,every italian kid thinks he's connected and the girls idea of a great guy is some gym rat that drives an olds 88with dark glass and 20 inch rims. who's a mamas boy.I actually had one of these guys come to my front door and ask me to shovel in front of my home so he could park his car there so he would'nt have to park in the lot of his condominium complex..

tre
tre

as much as i would love to see mtv put on a show that is tasteful, it isnt going to happen...look what they allow on now. these kids arent the first or last of disgraceful humans mtv will parade around for millions of dollars. they do look entertaining though smh

sal
sal

joe bonomo is meant to be on tv... "im not the situation, more like a solution"

jake b
jake b

I had some classes at NYU with Michelle and she's absolutely fabulous. Smart, gorgeous girl...YOU GO MICHELLE!

love,jake b

jt rockland
jt rockland

staten island has way too many characters, these people really exist? so funny, would love to meet the cast

laurie XOX
laurie XOX

is there still hope for this to air? HOPE SO!!!! looks amazing.

james g
james g

staten island like everywhere else in the world has all kinds of people...this show actually shows that. it isnt just guidos in a house worrying about partying. you have people in relationships, working, in school, trying to make it big in business or whatever and then yeah, you have some people you can make fun of....def has it all, 100%

Chriz
Chriz

dis show is guna be huge

Brooklyn123
Brooklyn123

this show looks so funny, i looked at the trailer and i can't wait for it to air

David Roldan
David Roldan

These 2 girl's are absolutely GROSS ! Two giraffes with big lips.

Joanne R. Pacicca
Joanne R. Pacicca

Honestly, this is a question for the straight men... are you really truly attracted to women like these Jersey girls? Do you find them likable? Please vent...

james g
james g

did you even real the article? the whole premise was showing who this people really are...a diverse group of kids with different goals and everything and most importantly they are from STATEN ISLAND not jersey

Brooklyn123
Brooklyn123

jersey isn't staten island, different states different girls

Thiet ke to gap
Thiet ke to gap

I find programming that many people hate so much is wrong

CaliInTexas
CaliInTexas

GARBAGE!!!!!! MTV is trash...they need to change the name to TTV (trash tv) they have NOTHING to do with MUSIC any longer.

james g
james g

you really took nothing away from the article, huh? saying people are trash is 1. terrible and 2. the whole premise of the story was showing that there is more to these people than the trailer...come on

Brooklyn123
Brooklyn123

this show stopped filming last year and it still makes front page! come one MTV wake up, this show obviously has something special

Guest
Guest

people are such haters, this show looks amazing

Guest
Guest

AIR THIS SHOW

rob k
rob k

real people, real life...THAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT FOR MTV. wow, instead of people in houses (real world, jersey shore) or stupid scripted shows (rj whoever)...get kids people can relate to or maybe make fun of, but believe me they will be watching

Brooklyn123
Brooklyn123

soooo funny, i was just thinking the same thing.

amir
amir

unintelligence is ready a 7-page article about people and still only judging them from a minute-long trailer

amir
amir

reading* (stupid iphone)

Sakara
Sakara

more trashy, sleazy, stoopid nonsense from the filthy suit and tie millionaires that create mtv shows.

and these skanks would have gotten upwards of $100,000 an episode if the show would have became a hit.

NY TIMES BEST SELLER NEXT FOR THESE TWO!

Gmimozo
Gmimozo

This is just sad. Why are you placating such utter nonsense? This isn't news and certainly doesn't deserve a COVER story. The real news is the story of each and every Staten Islander who is actually contributing to society and not just trying to get rich quick from media outlets like MTV who have turned our Island into a joke among the masses.

As an Islander who isn't trying to "get outta heah" but who is trying to make the place I live better and earn the respect of a city who treats my home like a bastard step child who only breeds guidos and has nothing to offer the great city of New York.

Do you understand how hard it is to fight a stereotype like this? You make it extremely difficult by making this crap news. Why not come here and do some real reporting? I implore you to do so. In fact, I dare you to. I'll be your tour guide and I'll show you what Staten Island is ACTUALLY about. Because that is news. We're the little borough that could, constantly fighting an uphill battle against media outlets everywhere to stop reporting on this small minority and start investigating what life and the people who live here are really like.

Are you up for the challenge? Because I'm ready when you are.

CantAbideLiars
CantAbideLiars

This story, for one thing, is waaaaay too long.

And no matter how seriously MTV initially agrees to treat subj matter (16 and Pregnant), it eventually goes to the lowest common denominator (Teen Moms) and just grinds out stereotypes and crap.

All these commenters here begging for this show to be aired are just the cast members and their buds.

james g
james g

i know a few of these people and you really must have read the article with your eyes closed. the show shows a whole range of what staten island offers...and there are the stereotypical people, yes...but there are also people that despite their tan, accent or whatever, are really smart, motivated people. don't generalize the people in the show like you claim people generalize staten island because then you are no better

amir
amir

YOU KNOW HOW YOU "CHANGE A STEREOTYPE"????????? THROUGH YOURSELF. funny you people complain about people judging you but you will judge a group of strangers through a two second clip of their life. terrible

never look back
never look back

You can't change the stereotype. I left State Island in 92' and haven't been back. I wasn't at all surprised when Jersey Shore aired and nothing had changed. You are more than welcome to stay in an area that, indeed, breeds quidos and offers nothing. I'll be watching the show from out of state.

Mike NYC
Mike NYC

cry me a river...just seems you weren't good enough to break the SI "stereotype"....i am from SI and trust me, i am far more successful than many people from other parts of the country

Chris
Chris

what a great article and would be great show. who knew these kids had ambition and were smart and going places? shows you can't judge someone from a minute long clip!

james g
james g

at least someone admits it!

BrentMiller
BrentMiller

I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, GrabPenny.com

niaoren
niaoren

Hello,everyone,sorry take your time a min,show a good fashion stuff

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Guest
Guest

Amy Winehouse is dead yet these bozo's live and MTV is paying them lot's of money. The world is truly absurd.

Linlili32
Linlili32

Hello,everyone,sorry take your time a min,show a good fashion stuff

website —— www (vipstores) net —— you can input on your web there,if you

do know how to do,you can click my username and you will come

our company website,maybe you will find something your like,thanks!

 
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