The Real Housewives of Atlanta

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta
TheRealHousewivesOfAtlantaLogo.png
Genre Reality television
Starring
  • Current housewives
  • NeNe Leakes
    (Season 1–present)
  • Kandi Burruss
    (Season 2–present)
  • Cynthia Bailey
    (Season 3–present)
  • Phaedra Parks
    (Season 3–present)
  • Kenya Moore
    (Season 5–present)
  • Porsha Williams
    (Season 5–present)
  • Former housewives
  • DeShawn Snow
    (Season 1)
  • Lisa Wu-Hartwell
    (Seasons 1–2)
  • Shereè Whitfield
    (Seasons 1–4)
  • Kim Zolciak
    (Seasons 1–5)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 114 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Glenda Hersh
  • Lauren Eskelin
  • Megan Sanchez-Warner
  • Omid Kahangi
  • Steven Weinstock
Producer(s)
  • Luke Neslage
  • Anne Swan
  • Jason Cavanagh
  • Irina Grobman
  • Sybil Dessau
  • Bianca Barnes
  • Sean O'Brien
  • Lauren Ranzino
  • Daniel Blau Rogge
  • Brad Hurtado
Camera setup Multiple
Running time 41–43 minutes
Production company(s) True Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel Bravo
Picture format
Original run October 7, 2008 (2008-10-07) – present (present)
Chronology
Preceded by The Real Housewives of New York City
Followed by The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Related shows
External links
Website
Production website

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is an American reality television series premiered on October 7, 2008 on Bravo. Developed as the third installment of The Real Housewives franchise, following The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Real Housewives of New York City, it has aired six seasons and focuses on the personal and professional lives of several women residing in Atlanta, Georgia.

The series originally focused on Lisa Wu-Hartwell, DeShawn Snow, NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, and Shereè Whitfield. Snow left the program after the first season, and was replaced by Kandi Burruss beginning in the second season. Hartwell departed the series at the conclusion of the second season, and was replaced by Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks beginning with the third season. Whitfield exited the series after the fourth season, while Zolciak left in the middle of the fifth season; Porsha Williams and Kenya Moore joined the series in their absences during the fifth season.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has received moderately favorable reviews from critics, and has been recognized as a "guilty pleasure" by several media outlets. However, the series has been criticized for appearing to fabricate portions of its storyline. As of February 2014, it is the highest-rated installment of The Real Housewives franchise, and is additionally the most-watched series airing on Bravo. Its success has resulted in the conceptions of the spin-offs The Kandi Factory, Don't Be Tardy..., and I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, and the latest spin-off, The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding.[1]

Series synopsis[edit]

Overview and casting[edit]

The current cast, from left: Burruss, Leakes, Parks, Bailey, Moore, and Williams.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta was announced as the third installment in The Real Housewives franchise, intending to capitalize on the successes of its predecessors The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Real Housewives of New York City. Its television network Bravo stated that the series' planned storyline focused on "[balancing] motherhood, demanding careers and a fast-paced social calendar".[2]

Throughout its run, The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been led by five (seasons 1–2), six (seasons 3–4, 6), and seven (season 5) housewives, who are credited by their first names, and is distinguished within The Real Housewives franchise in that it is the only installment with a predominantly black cast.[3] Its original main housewives were Lisa Wu-Hartwell, DeShawn Snow, NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, and Shereè Whitfield.[2] Snow departed from the program after the first season, and alleged that producers considered her to be "too human for a circus show".[4] In her absence, Kandi Burruss joined the series during the second season.[5]

The third season saw the departure of Hartwell and the addition of Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks.[6] Marlo Hampton was originally planned to join the series during the fourth season, although such plans never came to fruition after several aspects of her undisclosed criminal record came to the attention of Bravo;[7] consequently, the lineup remained unchanged during the fourth season.[8] Whitfield exited the series upon the conclusion of the fourth season, and was replaced by Porsha Williams and Kenya Moore in the fifth season.[9] Zolciak departed from the program by the sixth season, during which no additional housewives were introduced.[10] The departure of Zolciak made Leakes the only remaining original cast member as of season six; however, Zolciak commented that she might be interested in returning to the series.[11]

Storylines[edit]

In its series premiere, The Real Housewives of Atlanta introduced Wu-Hartwell, Snow, Leakes, Zolciak, and Whitfield. Leakes and Whitfield were in the midst of a personal conflict, which was escalated after Leakes was excluded from Whitfield's divorce party.[12] Meanwhile, Zolciak was revealed to be dating a publicly unknown boyfriend nicknamed "Big Papa",[12] and later decided to pursue her aspirations of becoming a country music singer.[13] Her friendship with Leakes deteriorated after she established a companionship with Whitfield,[14] and was ended after Leakes made sarcastic remarks about Zolciak's music career.[15] Snow and Wu-Hartwell additionally looked to establish prominence as a socialite and a jewelry designer, respectively.[14] Whitfield attempted to launch her own fashion line and organize a lunch for the women to reconcile,[16] although both ventures proved unsuccessful in the finale of the first season.[17]

The second season saw the introduction of Burruss, who had recently become engaged to her boyfriend AJ and expressed interest in reviving her music career.[18][19] An attempted reconciliation between Leakes, Whitfield, and Zolciak failed to come to fruition,[20] while a feud developed between Leakes and Burruss after the latter became friends with Zolciak and helped her record her single "Tardy for the Party".[21] Meanwhile, Zolciak attempted to launch her own wig line and became engaged to Big Papa,[18][22] while Wu-Hartwell and Whitfield launched their own clothing collections.[23][24]

The third season saw the introduction of Bailey and Parks,[25][26] while Leakes and Zolciak reconciled as the former contemplated divorcing her husband Gregg and the latter began a lesbian relationship.[25] Parks, who was in the middle of her pregnancy,[25] clashed with her husband Apollo over their differing opinions on parenting;[27] she gave birth later in the season.[28] Meanwhile, Zolciak and Burruss continued recording music together, although they clashed over their creative differences.[29] Bailey later became engaged to her boyfriend Peter, while Zolciak set her affections on football player Kroy Biermann;[30] a conflict between Burruss, Leakes, and Zolciak later ensued while the latter two women embark on a promotional concert tour.[31] Against the advice of her mother and sister, Bailey married Peter in the third season finale.[32]

The fourth season began as Zolciak was in the middle of her first pregnancy by her boyfriend Biermann;[33] she later gave birth to their son.[34] Leakes continued divorce proceedings with Gregg,[35] while Whitfield found herself in financial difficulties after her ex-husband failed to pay child support.[36] Meanwhile, Bailey opened her own modeling agency,[37] while Parks looked to launch a family-operated funeral home.[38] Leakes's new friendship with Hampton caused tension between all of the women, which escalated during a group vacation in Africa;[39] while Zolciak, who had remained home with her children, became upset by negative comments Bailey (not Burruss) made about her during the group vacation.[40] As the season closed, Leakes began to reconsider her divorce from Gregg.[41]

As the fifth season introduced former Miss USA Moore and football player Kordell Stewart's wife Williams,[42][43] Leakes reconciled with Gregg and pondered the possibility of remarrying him.[42] Zolciak was forced to move out of her mansion, which she and Biermann had attempted to purchase less than a year earlier,[44] Leakes began to question Moore's seemingly unfaithful behavior towards her boyfriend Walter during a group trip to Anguilla, which began a feud between Leakes and Williams against Moore.[45] Moore wished to marry Walter although their relationship had begun to deteriorate,[46] while Parks and Moore created competing workout DVDs after plans to make the project a joint venture proved unsuccessful.[47] Toward the end of the season, Williams attempted to revive her failing marriage to Stewart with therapist sessions.[48]

Williams came to the realization that her marriage wass not salvageable as the sixth season commenced,[49] while Leakes became upset with Moore after the later went against "girl code" by inappropriately communicating with Parks's husband Apollo.[50] Moore moved out of her rental property after being evicted, while Leakes returned to Atlanta full-time after her television series The New Normal was canceled.[51] Burruss struggled to manage the conflict between her estranged mother Joyce and her longtime boyfriend Todd,[52] although they attempted to reconcile as the couple became engaged and began planning their nuptials.[53] In a later attempt to salvage the relationships between the women, Leakes hosted a couples pajama party for their group,[54] although the women continued to clash with one another; a later spa gathering failed to resolve residual tension between Leakes and Moore.[55] Meanwhile, Williams attempted to launch her career as an actress after being cast in Burruss's musical.[56]

Housewives history[edit]

Housewives Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Current
NeNe Leakes Main
Kandi Burruss Main
Phaedra Parks Main
Cynthia Bailey Main
Kenya Moore Main
Porsha Williams Main
Former
Kim Zolciak Main
Sherée Whitfield Main
Lisa Wu Hartwell Main Guest
DeShawn Snow Main

Critical reception[edit]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been moderately well received by critics. Writing for Common Sense Media, Melissa Camacho spoke favorably of the series' emphasis on "a successful and powerful segment of the African-American community" that appears to be frequently neglected by the popular television.[57] Tim Hall from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer commented of his general distaste for reality television, particularly describing The Real Housewives of Orange County as "utterly ridiculous". However, he admitted that the dynamic and conflict between the women, in addition to the wealthy lifestyles they led, to be "somewhat entertaining".[58] In a more mixed review, Alessandra Stanley from The New York Times joked that its portrayal of wealth served as "the best choice for a time capsule of the Bling Decade" when noting the economic downturn the United States experienced around the time that the series premiered, although more seriously stated that the housewives' luxuries "was never all that enviable, and now it looks as if it might not be viable."[59] Hanh Nguyen from Zap2It shared a similar sentiment, criticizing that the "showy elite and rampant consumerism" that the women regularly display "seems rather out of touch" given the United States' economic hardship, although she elaborated that the program "[is] not by any means boring, but you do have to be in the mood to watch."[60]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been recognized as a "guilty pleasure" by several media outlets. Writing for About.com, Latoya West commented that the "self-absorbed" nature of the housewives may become irritating to viewers, but noted that the series' "divalicious drama might be addictive."[61] The staff from Entertainment Weekly joked that they "are never tardy for this party"; they felt that "[Leakes] alone could keep [The Real Housewives of Atlanta] on the map", and additionally credited Zolciak's "slow train to cuckootown, making all local stops" for helping to establish "the franchise for the ages."[62] In 2009, a writer from Essence mentioned that they "couldn't get enough of the ladies" from the program, and recognized it as the best reality show of the year.[63] Writing for Today, Leslie Bruce commented that The Real Housewives franchise in general rose to prominence for its depiction of "foul-mouthed, often catfighting and always self-promoting" women, and stated that they "dominate water-cooler discussions [...] by showcasing at times the worst of female behavior."[64]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been criticized for appearing to fabricate portions of its storyline. One source of speculation arose during the fifth season, when Moore allegedly requested that Walter Jackson pretend to be her boyfriend; series producers were reportedly unaware of said arrangement. Moore commented that such claims were "completely false", and further "[urged] viewers to stay tuned because the truth will come to light." Moore was also criticized for alleging that she was financially stable, although she reportedly joined the series as a source of income to offset the difficulties with her lawsuits from several creditors.[65] In May 2013, Williams allegedly staged her divorce from Kordell Stewart to secure her position on the series, which she reportedly feared was in jeopardy.[66] In December 2013, Williams received additional criticism for comments made in an episode aired during the sixth season, where she indicated that she believed the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad line.[67]

U.S. television ratings[edit]

The first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta maintained an average of 1.495 million weekly viewers; Bravo announced that the series had become the first program from the network to "crack the two million viewer mark among adults 18-49."[68] The premiere episode of the second season was watched by 2.66 million people, setting the record for the highest-rated The Real Housewives premiere episode in the franchise's history at the time.[69] The third season averaged a weekly viewership of 3.6 million people,[70] while the fourth and fifth seasons premiered with 2.8 million and 3.2 million viewers, respectively.[71][72] The sixth season premiere was watched by 3.1 million people; with 1.9 million viewers being classified in the adults 25-54 demographic, it became the highest-rated episode in this target demographic.[73] As of February 2014, The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the highest-rated installment of The Real Housewives franchise, and is additionally the most-watched series airing on Bravo.[74]

Broadcast history[edit]

Zolciak (left) pictured in November 2009.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs regularly on Bravo in the United States;[75] most episodes are approximately one hour in length,[76] and are broadcast in standard definition and high definition.[77] Since its premiere, the series has alternated airing on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings and has been frequently shifted between the 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 PM timeslots.[75] The first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta included seven episodes and one reunion special, and aired from October 7, 2008 until November 25, 2008.[75] The second season consisted of fourteen episodes, a two-part reunion special, and a deleted scenes special; it premiered on July 30, 2009, and concluded on November 5, 2009.[75] The third season commenced airing on October 4, 2010, after airing sixteen episodes and a two-part reunion special, it ended on January 30, 2011.[75] The fourth season aired from November 6, 2011 until April 22, 2012; it included twenty episodes and a three-part reunion special.[75] The fifth season premiered on November 4, 2012, and concluded on April 21, 2013 after broadcasting twenty episodes and a three-part reunion special.[75] The sixth season commenced airing on November 3, 2013.[75]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta was renewed for a seventh season in April 2014.[78]

Spin-offs[edit]

Zolciak received the first spin-off from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, titled Don't Be Tardy for the Wedding, which documented the preparations for her nuptials to Kroy Biermann. It premiered on April 9, 2012[79] and returned for a second season on April 16, 2013, at which time its title was shortened to Don't Be Tardy....[80] Originally planned as a one-time television special,[81] The Kandi Factory was launched as the second spin-off from The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2012.[82] It followed Burruss and her record producers as they attempted to launch the music careers of undiscovered artists,[82] although it was confirmed in 2013 that the series was canceled after airing one season.[83] After reconciling with her ex-husband Gregg, Leakes received her own spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, which documented the preparations for their second wedding;[84] it premiered on September 17, 2013.[85] Bravo announced Kandi and Todd's wedding spin-off, The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding, on April 8, 2014.[1]

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External links[edit]