Plenty of reality programs promise to show us how the rich and powerful live their lives. Very few actually end up doing that, of course. The women featured on the Real Housewives of NYC weren't part of the city's social elite before they humiliated themselves on national television—nor were they all housewives either—so they had little to lose in the end. That will change, though, when Bravo's NYC Prep, or the "real-life Gossip Girl," as Bravo has been billing it, debuts on June 23. One of the obnoxious, over-privileged teens featured on the show—the one who comes off in the worst possible light, in fact—hails from one of the city's richest and most respected families. Meet Peter Carey ("PC") Peterson, the grandson of Pete Peterson.
PC's grandfather is a legend in financial, philanthropic, and political circles. Raised by Greek immigrants who operated a diner in Nebraska, Peterson rose above his humble beginnings to serve as Secretary of Commerce under President Nixon, chairman of Lehman Brothers in the late 1970s, and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In the mid-'80s, he teamed with Steve Schwarzman to found The Blackstone Group, with each man putting in $400,000 to get the firm off the ground. It was his work at the private equity behemoth that minted him his fortune. When Blackstone went public in 2007, Peterson sold 59 percent of his stake in the company and collected $1.88 billion dollars in the process.
In recent years, Peterson has focused his attention on writing as well as various political and philanthropic causes. He's a former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. A year ago, he announced plans to take a big chuck on his Blackstone fortune and endow the Peter G. Peterson Foundation with $1 billion. This month, his latest book arrives in bookstores. Entitled The Education of an American Dreamer, Peterson tells "a story full of family, love, business, politics, ambition, idealism, failure and fulfillment." Parts of it are brutally honest: At one point he describes a number of his former colleagues as "spoiled and ungrateful schmucks" for their obsession with money and fame.
It's unclear if PC, who says he's appearing on the show to start an "acting" career, bothered to consult with his grandfather before playing the role of spoiled and ungrateful schmuck on national television. (Or any other family members for that matter: His aunt is Holly Peterson, the author of The Manny; he's pictured with his mother and sister above.)
But we can't imagine his grandfather is looking forward to what is in store. Just his official bio was probably enough to make the financier cringe. (You can see PC in action in the promo video below):
PC is one of the most popular kids in the Upper East Side prep school scene. Attractive and wealthy, PC is interested in photography – both fine art photography and fashion photography – and is a music aficionado. He loves sports and plays ice hockey, tennis, golf and soccer. Like many New York kids, this jaded 18-year-old grew up fast, surrounded by rock stars, artists, and the city's literati. For PC, money, women and life's spoils are all he's ever known, and as such, he can't wait to get out of the "sandbox" of high school. A workout fiend, PC realizes that college is right around the corner and he needs to make an impactful change to his partying lifestyle. His first step is to reconnect with his old friend Jessie. They have a long history – they've dated, been best friends and lost touch – and as they pick up where they left off, the drama unfolds.
And we can't imagine PC's step-grandmother, Joan Ganz Cooney, who has spent the last four decades working in the TV business, is very happy either. After all, she's spent her life devoted to "responsible" television programming: She's the woman who created Sesame Street.