If you thought the Kardashians were the most outrageous reality show family on TV, think again. Tuesday night, "American Gypsies" premieres on the National Geographic Channel, giving rare insight into the Johns family, who executive producer Ralph Macchio (yes, of "wax on, wax off" fame) compares to characters in both "The Godfather" and "The Sopranos."

"This is a fascinating subculture that exists right here in New York. I was astounded by some of the customs and what I would call unorthodox choices and traditions, but [they were] kind of relatable in a way with me being from a Greek-Italian-American family," Macchio tells me. "They have strong beliefs and family comes first -- this story needed to be told."

After a long process of pitching the series to various networks, Macchio considered turning the family story into a documentary. But ultimately, the National Geographic Channel committed to the series.

"This is where television is now, it's entertainment," Macchio says. "This is 'The Sopranos' meets 'Jersey Shore,' but these are the real people. We didn’t cast Snooki and the Situation. This is the family, it's like 'The Godfather.' We have Sonny Corleone, we have Michael, we have Fredo. And that’s one of my favorite films of all time. One could agree there is very little reality in reality television. You are force-fed what you are supposed to believe is actual. That’s frustrating. In our show, the Johns family is the Johns family."

Fascinated that this culture settles their disputes in a Gypsy court, embraces homeschooling and owns their own psychic shop -- Ralph was determined to get inside the community and tell their story. However, he was nervous about being accepted.

"Fortunately they were all big 'Dancing with The Stars' fans," laughs Ralph.

"American Gypsies" premieres Tuesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.

Celebrity Photos Of The Week:

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  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    "Rock of Ages" star Julianne Hough showed off her killer beach body while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/julianne-hough-bikini-beach-photos_n_1675760.html" target="_hplink">running on the beach with her dogs in North Carolina</a> on July 15.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Longtime Hollywood couple Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/lisa-rinna-swimsuit-beach-body-photos_n_1675802.html" target="_hplink"> strolled on a Malibu beach together </a>on July 14.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Stephen Baldwin's daughter, Hailey, 16, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/hailey-baldwin-bikini-stephen-photos_n_1676879.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">practiced ballet on the beach</a> in Miami on July 13.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Hayden Panettiere showed off her incredibly toned body while on vacation in Mexico with boyfriend Scotty McKnight.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Jessica Biel gave us a preview of her wedding whites when she showed up for the 2012 ESPY Awards on July 12 in this adorable minidress.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Jessica Alba enjoyed some pool time with her daughters Haven and Honor in Italy on July 11.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Miley Cyrus was spotted leaving Pilates class on July 10 sporting some new ink on her forearm -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/miley-cyrus-new-tattoo-president-roosevelt_n_1664882.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">which now bears a quote by Theodore Roosevelt.</a>

  • Celebrity News: July 2012

    Are Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb engaged? According to sources, Loeb <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/sofia-vergara-engaged-modern-family-star-nick-loeb_n_1663273.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">popped the question on Vergara's 40th birthday in Mexico.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Newlyweds Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves, who are expecting their third child together, attended the European premiere of "Magic Mike" in London on July 10.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    "Magic Mike" star Channing Tatum gave a wave to fans as he left ITV Studios in London on July 10.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Pregnant Drew Barrymore treated herself to a mani/pedi day in Los Angeles on July 9.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Real-life lovebirds Cory Monteith and Lea Michele were spotted walking hand-in-hand as they stepped out for lunch in Hollywood on July 9.

  • Celebrity News: July 2012

    Well, that was fast! On July 9, less than two weeks after announcing their split, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/tom-cruise-katie-holmes-divorce-settlement_n_1659293.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise announced that they settled their divorce out of court</a>, with Holmes reportedly getting primary custody of their daughter, Suri, 6.

  • Celebrity News: July 2012

    Congratulations are in order for Kourtney Kardashian! The reality star and her longtime beau, Scott Disick, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/penelope-scotland-kourtney-kardashian-baby-girl_n_1572027.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">welcomed a baby girl named Penelope Scotland on July 8.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Janice Dickinson was shy about showing off her bikini body in Malibu on July 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Alessandra Ambrosio is one hot mama. The Victoria's Secret model -- seen here with daughter Anja -- hit the beach with her family in Malibu on July 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Nick Jonas played it cool as he hailed a cab in New York on July 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Liam Hemsworth braved the heat while filming his new flick, "Empire State," in Queens, N.Y.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe was all smiles as she stepped out with her son, Skyler, on July 8 in Los Angeles.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Uh, do you have something to tell us, Rachel McAdams? Though it may look as if the actress is going into labor, she's just in character on the set of her latest film, "About Time," on July 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian played it cool when they stopped by the set of the new Matchbox 20 music video on their motorcycle on July 7 in Los Angeles.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Uh oh! Justin Bieber found himself in a bit of trouble on July 6 when he was pulled over for speeding in Los Angeles.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Jessica Simpson <a href="https://twitter.com/JessicaSimpson/status/221069649931022336" target="_hplink">shared a sweet family photo on Twitter </a>July 5 from her Fourth of July celebration.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Amanda Seyfried, wearing some particularly short shorts, and a friend ran some errands in West Hollywood on July 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Shane Warne and Elizabeth Hurley were photographed leaving Claridges Hotel in London after attending a friend's birthday party on July 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Minka Kelly, all in black, was spotted leaving the gym in West Hollywood on July 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Catherine Zeta-Jones snapped some photos of her children on the beach in Los Angeles on July 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Mommy-daughter duo Pink and Willow, who was sporting a very festive tutu, took in the July 4th sights by bike in Los Angeles.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner celebrated the Fourth of July with their family -- including baby Samuel -- at a parade in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Katy Perry was all smiles <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/katy-perry-goes-biking-4th-of-july-photo_n_1650810.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">as she biked around Venice Beach, Calif., on July 4.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Christina Aguilera and her beau Matt Rutler<a href="http://www.x17online.com/celebrities/christina_aguilera/christina_aguilera_matthew_rutler_max_malibu_4_july_american_flag_070512.php" target="_hplink"> took a stroll on the beach in Malibu on July 4.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Lindsay Lohan is back to red! The actress, who just wrapped production on "Liz & Dick," debuted a new 'do at Shore Bar on July 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Katie Holmes, who has had quite a few drama-filled days recently, and daughter Suri stepped out for some late-night ice cream on July 3 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Carly Rae Jepson rocked some short shorts in New York City on July 3 while on set for her latest music video.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    The couple that goes to fashion shows together, stays together... right? Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were all decked out as they attended a Stephane Rolland fashion show in Paris on July 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Chris Hemsworth got in some daddy-daughter time on July 3 as he cradled his baby girl, India, while in Madrid, Spain.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Ashley Tisdale <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/ashley-tisdale-bikini-birthday-bash-photos_n_1645794.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">sizzled in a yellow fringe bikini</a> as she celebrated her 27th birthday in Malibu on July 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Snooki is certainly preparing for motherhood in an interesting way. The pregnant "Jersey Shore" star was spotted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/snooki-stroller-beer_n_1647116.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">pushing a stroller filled with beer and soda</a> in Seaside Heights, N.J., on July 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Reese Witherspoon is one workin' mama. The pregnant actress -- and her growing baby bump -- was spotted on the set of her new film "Devil's Knot" on July 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Nicole Richie and Australian model Jessica Hart stepped out at Nobu Malibu on July 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Tina Fey and her daughter, Penelope, hung out on the set of the "30 Rock" star's new film, "Admission," in Princeton, N.J., on July 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Katie Holmes was spotted out in New York for the first time after announcing her split from husband Tom Cruise on July 2.

  • Celebrity News: July 2012

    Anderson Cooper publicly came out as a gay man on July 2, writing in an email to writer Andrew Sullivan:<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/anderson-cooper-comes-out-gay_n_1643276.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity&ir=Celebrity" target="_hplink"> "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    It was a double date night for Beyonce and Jay-Z as they joined pal Kanye West and his girlfriend Kim Kardashian <a href="http://www.celebuzz.com/2012-07-01/bet-awards-2012-beyonce-and-jay-z-have-double-date-night-with-kim-kardashian-and-kanye-west-photos/" target="_hplink">at the BET Awards on July 1.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Engaged couple Keira Knightley and James Righton looked as happy as can be as they strolled around New York City on July 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Cute couple alert! "Glee" co-stars and real-life couple <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/lea_michele_cory_monteith_simply_stun/327317" target="_hplink">Cory Monteith and Lea Michele looked stunning</a> at the Versace Haute-Couture fashion show in Paris on July 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: July 2012

    Funnyman Will Arnett was spotted biking through New York's Tribeca neighborhood on July 1 after making a stop at Whole Foods.

  • Celebrity News: June 2012

    Congratulations are in order for Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/30/alec-baldwin-married-hilaria-thomas_n_1640550.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">The couple tied the knot on June 30</a> at New York's St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Just friends? Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who have been dodging dating rumors for months, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/mila-kunis-ashton-kutcher-dating-couple-cozy-lunch-date_n_1642978.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">were spotted together at Soho House in West Hollywood, Calif., on June 30.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Former "Real Housewives of New York" star Kelly Bensimon wasn't shy about showing a little skin as she promoted her new book, "I Can Make You Hot" at TAO Beach in Las Vegas on June 30.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Looking good, Jordin Sparks! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/jordin-sparks-tiny-waist-dodgers-national-anthem_n_1642899.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">The singer was all smiles as she attended a baseball game</a> between the New York Mets and the L.A. Dogers in Los Angeles on June 30.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    So cute! Pregnant Sarah Michelle Gellar was all smiles as she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/sarah-michelle-gellar-baby-bump-pregnant-photo_n_1643382.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">stepped out with her daughter Charlotte</a> on June 30 in Beverly Hills.

  • Celebrity New: June 2012

    It was announced on June 29 that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/tom-cruise-katie-holmes-divorce_n_1638050.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">Katie Holmes has filed for divorce from husband Tom Cruise</a> after five years of marriage. The couple has one daughter together, Suri, 6.

  • Celebrity New: June 2012

    It looks like Adele will have a little someone to sing lullabies too soon! The soulful singer announced she and boyfriend Simon Konecki <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/adele-pregnant-singer-expecting-first-child-boyfriend-simon-konecki_n_1638151.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">are expecting a baby together.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Looking good, Haylie Duff! The actress rocked a tight salmon-colored minidress when <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/01/haylie-duff-wears-tight-short-dress-photos_n_1641633.html" target="_hplink">she stepped out at Chateau Marmont on June 29.</a>

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift were all smiles<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/taylor-swift-selena-gomez_n_1633615.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink"> as they stepped out to lunch</a> on June 27 in Malibu, Calif.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Katy Perry rocked out after the premiere of her new movie, "Katy Perry: Part Of Me," in LA on June 26.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Following Katy Perry's movie premiere on June 26, Selena Gomez stepped out for some fun at Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood, along with beau Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson.

  • Celebrity News: June 2012

    Exciting news for "True Blood" stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer! The couple is expecting not one, but two babies! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/anna-paquin-twins-pregnant-true-blood-stephen-moyer_n_1630662.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_hplink">Paquin is pregnant with twins</a> and is due in the fall. Congrats!

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2012

    Newlyweds Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey were spotted entering their NYC hotel with kids Levi and Vida on on June 26.