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Chicago a tough nut for ‘Mob Wives’

Updated: April 10, 2012 10:59AM

VH1 on Tuesday officially announced the five “syndicate sisters” cast in “Mob Wives Chicago,” a spinoff of the New York version of the reality TV show.

The women include Nora Schweihs, daughter of reputed hit man Frank “The German” Schweihs and ex-wife of mob bookie Michael Talarico; Renee Fecarotta Russo, niece of mob loan shark and killer John Fecarotta; Pia Rizza, daughter of a dirty Chicago cop; Christine Scoleri, daughter of a one-time thief and alleged fence for the mob, and Leah DeSimone, whose father, William “Wolf” DeSimone, is a supposed “associate” of the Outfit, according to VH1.

The show’s creator, Jennifer Graziano, knows all about the underworld. She grew up in it. Her father is in prison, and her older sister, Renee, stars in the New York show.

Graziano met Nora ­Schweihs in the early ’90s, when both of their fathers were doing time in a Minnesota hoosegow. Finding the rest of the cast — and locations that would allow them to film inside — proved to be tougher than in New York, where Graziano is a native.

“Chicago’s been a harder nut to crack,” said Graziano, adding that the city is a natural fit for a mafia-related program. “Just stepping foot into the city, you feel it. It’s there.”

Production is still in the early stages for the show’s June launch. But viewers can expect “totally different stories” from the two franchises, even though the women in both shows have similar mindsets, Graziano said.

The difference between Chicago and New York mafia princesses?

“Mostly accent,” she said, adding that the Chicago women “are maybe not as volatile ... yet.”

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