Riggis’ reality show idea dropped
Updated 11:12 p.m.
SARATOGA SPRINGS Saratoga Springs socialite and dog lover Michele Riggi says her family will not be the stars of their own reality television show after all.
The E! cable channel confirmed in April that it was developing “Palazzo Riggi,” a reality show named after the Riggis’ multimillion-dollar stone mansion on North Broadway. The show would have focused on Michele, her husband, Ron, and their 35 dogs.
“Ron and I, after careful consideration, have decided to terminate a prospective reality show based on our lives,” said Michele Riggi in a statement issued Friday morning.
A statement in April from E! said the show would provide a look at the outrageous Riggi family and the staff that helps them maintain their property.
“This new docusoap takes viewers inside a unique, luxurious world filled with eccentric personalities and gives viewers a glimpse into a jaw-dropping, elaborate 24,000-square-foot family estate in upstate New York that boasts an authentic English pub, Balinese wellness spa and perfectly heated lawn that is designed to keep the paws of the family’s 35 dogs warm year-round,” said the statement.
According to public records, the Palazzo has 19,000 square feet of living space and is regarded as the second most expensive house in the city, with an estimated value of $6 million. Marble covers much of the interior, which has six bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms and a gym.
Riggi said the failure to reach a mutual agreement that would protect her family and the city was the cause of the show’s cancellation. “Ron and I cherish our relationship with this community, are blessed to live in Saratoga Springs and will continue to support Saratoga Springs in any way we can,” she said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused.”
At the Riggis’ annual Halloween shindig, local children line up to get candy bars from Michele Riggi, who every year is decked out in a Cinderella costume. She has said in the past that Cinderella is more than her annual Halloween costume — her life story echoes the fairy tale. She was raised in Broadalbin, studied dance as a youth and then as a young woman switched to musical theater and worked in some off-Broadway productions in New York City.
Then she met Ron Riggi and the two married and had a family. He is CEO of Turbine Services Ltd.
With her children all grown, Michele Riggi has devoted herself to her dogs, which now number about three dozen.
The dogs, all toy breeds such as Pomeranians, bichon frises and Chihuahuas, have their own room filled with cushions. Michele Riggi wrote a book, “Posh Palazzo Pups,” about them in 2009, including each dog’s birthday and its photo.