The Real Housewives

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The Real Housewives
TRHO Logo.png
Created byScott Dunlop
Original workThe Real Housewives of Orange County
OwnerNBCUniversal
Years2006–present
Films and television
Television seriesAmerican installments
International installments
Spin-offs
Miscellaneous
GenreReality
Country of originUnited States
Official website
bravotv.com/the-real-housewives

The Real Housewives is an international reality television franchise that consists of 57 programs; 11 American installments, 20 international installments and 26 spin-offs. Most of the franchise documents the personal and professional lives of a group of affluent women residing in or around a certain city.

The American franchise is primarily broadcast on Bravo, with one installment broadcast on Peacock. The American franchise began on March 21, 2006 with The Real Housewives of Orange County.

The international franchise is broadcast on various networks. The international franchise began on March 4, 2011 with The Real Housewives of Athens. Of the international franchise, the longest-running is The Real Housewives of Cheshire, which has aired 15 series.

The American franchise has led to a vast number of spin-offs; the most successful, Vanderpump Rules, has itself had a number of spin-offs.

History[edit]

On May 1, 2005, The Real Housewives was first announced as one of six reality television shows ordered by the American television network Bravo.[1]

"From Peyton Place to Desperate Housewives, viewers have been riveted by the fictionalized versions of such lifestyles on television. Now, here is a series that depicts real-life 'desperate' housewives with an authentic look at their compelling day-to-day drama."

—A press release by Bravo, describing the concept of The Real Housewives of Orange County.[2]

The show was inspired by scripted soap operas including Desperate Housewives and Peyton Place, and would document the lives of upper-class women who "lead glamorous lives in a picturesque Southern California gated community where the average home has a $1.6 million price tag and residents include CEOs and retired professional athletes."[2]

The Real Housewives of Orange County[edit]

In January 2006, the show was announced as The Real Housewives of Orange County.

The first season aired on Bravo from March 21 to May 9, 2006.[2] The original cast consisted of Kimberly Bryant, Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough and Lauri Waring.

The success of the show has resulted in three spin-offs; Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, Tamra’s OC Wedding and Glitter Town.

The Real Housewives of New York City[edit]

In September 2007, the network started production for the show Manhattan Moms.[3] In January 2008, the show was re-titled to The Real Housewives of New York City, becoming the second installment in the franchise.

The first season aired on Bravo from March 4 to May 27, 2008.[4] The original cast consisted of Luann de Lesseps, Bethenny Frankel, Alex McCord, Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin.

The success of the show has resulted in three spin-offs; Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny & Fredrik and Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta[edit]

In June 2008, the third installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, was announced.[5]

The first season aired on Bravo from October 7 to November 25, 2008.[6] The original cast consisted of NeNe Leakes, DeShawn Snow, Shereé Whitfield, Lisa Wu and Kim Zolciak.

The success of the show has resulted in ten spin-offs; Don't Be Tardy, The Kandi Factory, I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, Kandi's Wedding, Kandi's Ski Trip, Xscape: Still Kickin' It, Kandi Koated Nights, Porsha's Having a Baby, Porsha's Family Matters and Kandi & the Gang.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey[edit]

In May 2008, the fourth installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, was announced, before the announcement of the Atlanta installment.[7]

The first season aired on Bravo from May 12 to July 8, 2009.[8] The original cast consisted of Teresa Giudice, Jacqueline Laurita, Caroline Manzo, Dina Manzo and Danielle Staub.

The success of the show has result in three spin-offs; Boys to Manzo, Manzo'd with Children and Teresa Checks In.

The Real Housewives of D.C.[edit]

In October 2009, the fifth installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of D.C., was announced.[9]

The season aired on Bravo from August 5 to October 21, 2010.[10] The cast consisted of Mary Amons, Lynda Erkiletian, Cat Ommanney, Michaele Salahi and Stacie Scott Turner.

The show ended after one season, becoming the first franchise to be canceled; its cancellation came after one of the cast members, Salahi, and her husband caused controversy by successfully entering the White House uninvited for a state dinner while being filmed for the show.[11]

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills[edit]

In March 2010, the sixth installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was announced.[12]

The first season aired on Bravo from October 14, 2010 to February 15, 2011.[13] The original cast consisted of Taylor Armstrong, Camille Grammer, Adrienne Maloof, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump.

The success of the show has resulted in two spin-offs; Vanderpump Rules and Vanderpump Dogs.

The success of Vanderpump Rules has resulted in three spin-offs; Vanderpump Rules After Show, Vanderpump Rules: Jax & Brittany Take Kentucky and Vanderpump Dogs.

The Real Housewives of Miami[edit]

In March 2010, the network ordered a show titled Miami Social Club, which would serve as a reconstruction of Miami Social.[14] The show was later re-titled to The Real Housewives of Miami, becoming the seventh installment in the franchise.

The first season aired on Bravo from February 22 to April 5, 2011.[15] The original cast consisted of Lea Black, Adriana de Moura, Alexia Echevarria, Marysol Patton, Larsa Pippen and Cristy Rice.

In November 2020, Andy Cohen, executive producer of the franchise, confirmed that he was trying to get the streaming service Peacock to pick up the show for a fourth season.[16]

In February 2021, it was confirmed that the show would be rebooted on Peacock.[17]

After an eight year hiatus, the fourth season aired on Peacock from December 16, 2021 to March 10, 2022. The original rebooted cast consisted of Guerdy Abraira, Lisa Hochstein, Julia Lemigova, Nicole Martin, Alexia Nepola and Larsa Pippen.

The success of the show has resulted in a spin-off; Havana Elsa.

The Real Housewives of Potomac[edit]

Prior to being announced, the show was initially titled Potomac Ensemble during its early production.[18]

In November 2015, the eight installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Potomac, was announced.[19]

The first season aired on Bravo from January 17 to April 17, 2016.[20] The original cast consisted of Gizelle Bryant, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon, Karen Huger, Charrisse Jackson-Jordan and Katie Rost.

The success of the show has resulted in a spin-off; Karen’s Grande Dame Reunion.

The Real Housewives of Dallas[edit]

Prior to being announced, the show was initially titled Ladies of Dallas during its early production, a potential spin-off to Ladies of London.[21]

In November 2015, the ninth installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Dallas, was announced.[19]

The first season aired on Bravo from April 11 to June 19, 2016.[22] The original cast consisted of Cary Deuber, Tiffany Hendra, Stephanie Hollman, LeeAnne Locken and Brandi Redmond.

On August 17, 2021, the network announced that they had no plans to immediately renew the show for a sixth season, placing it on an indefinite hiatus.

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City[edit]

In November 2019, the tenth installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, was announced.[23]

The first season aired on Bravo from November 11, 2020 to February 24, 2021.[24] The original cast consisted of Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose and Jen Shah.

The Real Housewives of Dubai[edit]

On November 1, 2021, the eleventh installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Dubai, was announced.[25] The show is the networks first original international installment of the franchise.

The first season aired on Bravo from June 1 to September 7, 2022.[26] The original cast consisted of Nina Ali, Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks, Sara Al Madani, Lesa Milan and Caroline Stanbury.[27]

List of shows[edit]

Bravo has broadcast 11 American installments of the franchise, beginning with The Real Housewives of Orange County on March 21, 2006. The network has also licensed the brand to various networks outside the United States, giving rise to more than a dozen international installments.

The success of the American franchise has resulted in 26 spin-offs centered on specific housewives, with the longest-running being Vanderpump Rules, which focuses on the staff at the restaurants and bars owned by Lisa Vanderpump from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In November 2021, the eleventh installment in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Dubai, was announced as the networks first original international installment of the franchise.

American installments[edit]

  Currently airing installments.
  Installment with an upcoming season.
  Installment with an unknown status.
  Installment is currently under development.
  Installment no longer in development.
Installments of The Real Housewives that originated in the United States
Series Abbrev. Location Network Series premiere Series finale No. of
seasons
Ref.
The Real Housewives of Orange County RHOC  California Bravo March 21, 2006 (2006-03-21) 17 [28]
The Real Housewives of New York City RHONY  New York March 4, 2008 (2008-03-04) 14 [29]
The Real Housewives of Atlanta RHOA  Georgia October 7, 2008 (2008-10-07) 14 [30]
The Real Housewives of New Jersey RHONJ  New Jersey May 12, 2009 (2009-05-12) 13 [31]
The Real Housewives of D.C. RHODC  D.C. August 5, 2010 (2010-08-05) October 21, 2010 (2010-10-21) 1 [32]
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills RHOBH  California October 14, 2010 (2010-10-14) 12 [33]
The Real Housewives of Miami RHOM  Florida Bravo (s. 1–present)
Peacock (s. 4–present)
February 22, 2011 (2011-02-22) 5 [17]
The Real Housewives of Potomac RHOP  Maryland Bravo January 17, 2016 (2016-01-17) 7 [34]
The Real Housewives of Dallas RHOD  Texas April 11, 2016 (2016-04-11) May 11, 2021 (2021-05-11) 5 [35]
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City RHOSLC  Utah November 11, 2020 (2020-11-11) 3 [23]
The Real Housewives of Dubai RHODubai  UAE June 1, 2022 (2022-06-01) 1

International installments[edit]

Installments of The Real Housewives that originated internationally
Series Abbrev. Country Network Series premiere Series finale No. of
seasons
The Real Housewives of Melbourne RHOMelbourne  Australia Arena (series 1–4)
FOX Arena (series 5)
February 23, 2014 (2014-02-23) December 12, 2021 (2021-12-12) 5
The Real Housewives of Sydney RHOS Arena February 26, 2017 (2017-02-26) May 14, 2017 (2017-05-14) 1
The Real Housewives of the Gold Coast RHOGC TBA 1
The Real Housewives of Vancouver RHOV  Canada Slice April 4, 2012 (2012-04-04) April 9, 2013 (2013-04-09) 2
The Real Housewives of Toronto RHOT March 7, 2017 (2017-03-07) May 9, 2017 (2017-05-09) 1
Les Vraies Housewives LVH  France NT1 March 18, 2013 (2013-03-18) April 1, 2013 (2013-04-01) 1
The Real Housewives of Athens RHOAthens  Greece ANT1 March 4, 2011 (2011-03-04) May 27, 2011 (2011-05-27) 1
The Real Housewives of Hungary RHOH  Hungary Viasat 3 September 25, 2017 (2017-09-25) 4
The Real Housewives di Napoli RHODN  Italy DPlay Plus (season 1)
Real Time (season 1)
Discovery+ (season 2)
November 2019 (2019-11) 2
The Real Housewives of Nairobi RHONairobi  Kenya TBA 1
The Real Housewives of Amsterdam RHOAMS  Netherlands Videoland November 24, 2022 (2022-11-24) 1
The Real Housewives of Auckland RHOAKL  New Zealand Bravo August 22, 2016 (2016-08-22) October 18, 2016 (2016-10-18) 1
The Real Housewives of Lagos RHOL  Nigeria Showmax April 8, 2022 (2022-04-08) 1
The Real Housewives of Abuja RHOAbuja 2023 (2023) 1
The Real Housewives of Johannesburg RHOJ  South Africa 1Magic August 3, 2018 (2018-08-03) 2
The Real Housewives of Durban RHODurban Showmax January 29, 2021 (2021-01-29) 2
The Real Housewives of Cape Town RHOCT Mzansi Magic July 10, 2022 (2022-07-10) 1
Die Real Housewives van Pretoria RHOPTA KykNET October 13, 2022 (2022-10-13) 1
The Real Housewives of Cheshire RHOCheshire  United Kingdom ITVBe January 12, 2015 (2015-01-12) 15
The Real Housewives of Jersey RHOJersey December 28, 2020 (2020-12-28) March 7, 2022 (2022-03-07) 2
The Real Housewives of Slovenia RHOSlovenia  Slovenia Planet TV October 2, 2021 (2021-10-02) 1

Spin-offs[edit]

Spin-offs of The Real Housewives
Series
Recipient(s)
Parent Series
Network Series premiere Series finale No. of
seasons
Ref.
Date My Ex: Jo & Slade Jo De La Rosa Orange County Bravo July 21, 2008 (2008-07-21) September 8, 2008 (2008-09-08) 1 [36]
Bethenny Ever After Bethenny Frankel New York City Bravo June 10, 2010 (2010-06-10) May 28, 2012 (2012-05-28) 3 [37]
Boys to Manzo Caroline Manzo's sons,
Albie & Chris Manzo
New Jersey Bravo (Website) May 30, 2011 (2011-05-30) July 10, 2011 (2011-07-10) 1 [38][39]
Don't Be Tardy Kim Zolciak-Biermann Atlanta Bravo April 26, 2012 (2012-04-26) December 29, 2020 (2020-12-29) 8 [40]
Havana Elsa Marysol Patton's mother,
Elsa Patton
Miami Bravo (Website) September 17, 2012 (2012-09-17) 1 [41][42]
The Kandi Factory Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo April 9, 2013 (2013-04-09) May 26, 2013 (2013-05-26) 1 [43][44]
Vanderpump Rules Lisa Vanderpump Beverly Hills Bravo January 7, 2013 (2013-01-07) 9 [45]
Tamra's OC Wedding Tamra Judge Orange County Bravo September 2, 2013 (2013-09-02) September 16, 2013 (2013-09-16) 1 [46]
I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding NeNe Leakes Atlanta Bravo September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17) October 27, 2013 (2013-10-27) 1 [47]
Kandi's Wedding Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo June 1, 2014 (2014-06-01) July 6, 2014 (2014-07-06) 1 [48]
Manzo'd with Children Caroline Manzo New Jersey Bravo October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05) October 30, 2016 (2016-10-30) 3 [49]
Kandi's Ski Trip Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo May 17, 2015 (2015-05-17) June 7, 2015 (2015-06-07) 1 [50]
Teresa Checks In Teresa Giudice New Jersey Bravo October 11, 2015 (2015-10-11) October 25, 2015 (2015-10-25) 1 [51]
Vanderpump Rules After Show Lisa Vanderpump Beverly Hills Bravo November 6, 2015 (2015-11-06) March 14, 2016 (2016-03-14) 1 [52]
Vanderpump Rules: Jax And Brittany Take Kentucky Lisa Vanderpump's employees,
Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright
Beverly Hills Bravo August 23, 2017 (2017-08-23) September 26, 2017 (2017-09-26) 1
Xscape: Still Kickin' It Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo November 5, 2017 (2017-11-05) November 26, 2017 (2017-11-26) 1 [53]
Bethenny & Fredrik Bethenny Frankel New York City Bravo February 6, 2018 (2018-02-06) March 20, 2018 (2018-03-20) 1 [54]
Kandi Koated Nights Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo July 1, 2018 (2018-07-01) July 15, 2018 (2018-07-15) 1 [55]
Porsha's Having a Baby Porsha Williams Atlanta Bravo April 28, 2019 (2019-04-28) May 12, 2019 (2019-05-12) 1 [56]
Glitter Town Lydia McLaughlin Orange County Bravo (Website) September 2, 2020 (2020-09-02) 1
Vanderpump Dogs Lisa Vanderpump Beverly Hills Peacock June 9, 2021 (2021-06-09) 1
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Various Various Peacock November 16, 2021 (2021-11-16) 3 [57]
Porsha's Family Matters Porsha Williams Atlanta Bravo November 28, 2021 (2021-11-28) 2022 (2022) 1
Kandi & The Gang Kandi Burruss Atlanta Bravo March 6, 2022 (2022-03-06) May 8, 2022 (2022-05-08) 1
Karen's Grande Dame Reunion Karen Huger Potomac Bravo April 17, 2022 (2022-04-17) 2022 (2022) 1
Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake Luann de Lesseps
Sonja Morgan
New York City Bravo 2023 (2023) TBA [58]

Other reality TV shows starring Real Housewives[edit]

Series
Recipient(s)
Real Housewives Installment
Network Series premiere Series finale No. of
seasons
Ref.
Denise Richards: It's Complicated Denise Richards Beverly Hills E! May 26, 2008 (2008-05-26) July 26, 2009 (2009-07-26) 2
High Society Tinsley Mortimer New York City The CW March 10, 2010 (2010-03-10) April 28, 2010 (2010-04-28) 1
Harry Loves Lisa Lisa Rinna Beverly Hills TV Land October 6, 2010 (2010-10-06) November 10, 2010 (2010-11-10) 1
Bethenny Bethenny Frankel New York City Fox Stations June 11, 2012 (2012-06-11) July 4, 2014 (2014-07-04) 1
Dina’s Party Dina Manzo New Jersey HGTV August 18, 2012 (2012-08-18) September 29, 2012 (2012-09-29) 1
Sanya's Glam and Gold Sanya Richards Ross Atlanta WE tv LLC June 25, 2013 (2013-06-25) July 29, 2013 (2013-07-29) 1
Rica, Famosa, Latina Joyce Giraud Beverly Hills Estrella TV September 16, 2014 (2014-09-16) 6
Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid Yolanda Hadid Beverly Hills January 4, 2018 (2018-01-04) February 24, 2018 (2018-02-24) 1
Overserved with Lisa Vanderpump Lisa Vanderpump Beverly Hills E! March 18, 2021 (2021-03-18) May 27, 2021 (2021-05-27) 1
The Big Shot with Bethenny Bethenny Frankel New York City HBO Max April 29, 2021 (2021-04-29) May 20, 2021 (2021-05-20) 1

Format and recurring elements[edit]

Each series focuses on the lives and social dynamics of a core group of around five to seven women in a particular city or geographic area. Cast members are typically relatively wealthy, middle-aged women. Scenes may depict cast members' personal and professional lives, and especially their social interactions with one another. Individual scenes may feature any combination of cast members (including solo scenes), though producers aim to include at least one "tent-pole" event per episode, which brings together the full cast.[59] A single season typically consists of around 25 episodes.[60]

The franchise has been described as a "docu-soap"— a hybrid of the reality television and soap opera genres.[61] The shows are not scripted, but field producers often intervene to steer the direction of conversations or inflame conflicts.[62]

Opening credits and taglines[edit]

A portion of the opening credits for the ninth season of The Real Housewives of New York City, showing the taglines of Luann de Lesseps, Tinsley Mortimer, and Bethenny Frankel. In the cast lineup at the end of the credits, the women hold golden apples (in reference to the "Big Apple" epithet of New York City), with Frankel occupying the center position.

A highly recognizable and frequently parodied feature of the franchise is its opening credits, which feature clips and green screen footage of each housewife in turn, with each housewife delivering a "tagline"—a short quip alluding to some aspect of their personality or story.[63] For example, for season six of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Vanderpump, who runs a dog rescue organization, used the tagline "I'm passionate about dogs, just not crazy about bitches". Housewives record several taglines for a given season, some of which may be written by the housewife herself and some by producers, with the network having final say on which one is used.[64]

The credits end with a title card showing a lineup of the entire cast holding in their outstretched hands an object related to the show's location.[65] For example, the housewives of Orange County hold oranges, the cast of Atlanta hold peaches, and the women of Beverly Hills hold oversized diamonds. This began as an allusion to the opening credits of Desperate Housewives, which featured the show's main actresses holding apples, and the each object is often used as a symbolic reference for being a cast member on each respective show — for example, if a long-time guest on a franchise is finally cast to appear full time, her cast mates may say she has "finally earned her peach." The housewife in the center of the cast shot is generally chosen to be the cast member who had the greatest impact on the season.[65]

Reunion episodes[edit]

Each season of a Real Housewives series ends with a "reunion", in which the cast members convene to discuss the events of the season. The reunion is generally filmed after most of the season has aired, and the women have had a chance to view the season's episodes.[66] Reunions are filmed in a single day over the course of around ten hours, but are generally edited into two or three one-hour episodes.[67]

Housewives are typically paid for their participation in each season of the program in two separate amounts, with the second portion paid to the Housewives after the filming of the reunion.[68] When Adrienne Maloof failed to show up for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season three reunion in 2013, a precedent was set where, with the exception of certain circumstances such as attending an alcohol rehabilitation facility,[68] the Housewife's employment as a cast member on the program is terminated if she is a no-show.[68] Housewives to skip the reunion and not return to the series in the next season include Maloof, Mary Cosby (Salt Lake City) and Lisa Vanderpump (Beverly Hills).

Cast members are seated on couches on either side of a host (Andy Cohen, in the case of the American editions) who asks the cast questions (sometimes viewer-submitted) about the events of the season. The closer a Housewife sits to the host, the more integral of a part she played in the drama and storyline that season. By 2016, entertainment websites were analyzing the importance of the reunion seating charts, with Slice noting that the Housewives assigned to the "end spots", meaning the ones farthest away from the host, meant a near-certain end to their time on Real Housewives.[69] Housewives generally dress formally, in evening or cocktail dresses, for reunions.

In addition to answering questions, the Housewives are given the chance to look back on video clips of events from the season, with their reactions shown to the audience via picture-in-picture. "Friends of the Housewives", part-time cast members, typically only appear for a portion of the reunion time. In many but not all U.S. Real Housewives installments, a segment of the reunion is filmed with the husbands of the Housewives joining their spouses on stage and giving their thoughts on what happened during the filming of the season. The first show to debut such a segment was The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2010, and many production companies now consider spouse participation to be standard fare on reunion day. The vast majority of reunion specials end with the cast making a toast, signifying a formal end to the season. In many cases production makes note of offering non-alcoholic toasts to Housewives who have quit drinking alcohol, or who are pregnant.

The final episode of the first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, the franchise's original incarnation, diverged from the now-standard reunion format; it lacked a host, and the women dressed casually and cordially reminisced over the course of a single episode, set in the backyard of one of the women. The reunion for the second season, then titled "Real Housewives Confess: A Watch What Happens Special", was the first to feature Andy Cohen as host, and to use the talk show-like format which subsequent reunions would adopt.[66] From then on, a standard season-ending reunion would play out across two episodes, with season three of The Real Housewives of New York City debuting the franchise's first-ever three-part reunion in June 2010.[70] In the years since, three-part reunions have become commonplace on many U.S. Housewives series, and in April 2017 The Real Housewives of Atlanta ended its ninth season with a four-part reunion special.[70] The four-part reunion special format was later duplicated by the Potomac and Beverly Hills installments in 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the season 12 and season 10 reunions of Atlanta and Beverly Hills were filmed virtually, on Zoom, from the homes of Cohen and the Housewives due to lockdown orders at the time.

Production[edit]

Each Real Housewives program is made by a different production company, though some are responsible for more than one show. For example, Evolution Media produces both The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.[60] A season is shot on location over the course of around four to six months. The typical field crew for a show consists of three production crews of around ten people, including one lead producer, several camera crew, and a sound technician. Small scenes, such as those centered on just one or two housewives, are shot by a single production crew, whereas multiple crews will cover larger events involving most of the cast.[71]

The postproduction process of putting episodes together takes around ten to twelve weeks, and begins near the end of filming. Estimates for the amount of raw footage recorded per hour-long episode have ranged from 40 to 85 hours.[72]

Casting[edit]

While early seasons occasionally made use of open casting calls, potential housewives are more typically referred by existing cast members or invited to interview by casting agents as a result of their research into the city's social circles. Candidates must pass through three stages: a phone interview with a casting director, a video interview, and finally a filmed home visit, simulating the process of filming a scene for the show.[73]

The casting of Housewives' family members as primary cast members has occurred many times, with The Real Housewives of New Jersey casting siblings in its first season.[74] This particular installment of the franchise would later cast sisters-in-law,[74] cousins,[74] and even twin sisters.[75] The first mother-daughter Housewives, Evodia and Mercy Mogase from The Real Housewives of Johannesburg,[76] eventually received their own spinoff program in 2020.[76]

Contracts[edit]

The compensation of Real Housewives cast members has been the subject of some speculation. In his book about the Housewives franchise, writer Brian Moylan estimates that, as of 2021, a cast member would receive around $60,000 for her first season, increasing year over year up to a cap of around 300 to 500 thousand dollars. Certain "star" cast members have been rumored to be paid figures in the low millions, such as NeNe Leakes, and Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Lisa Vanderpump of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Tamra Judge of The Real Housewives of Orange County.[77] In the early years of the franchise, cast members were paid considerably less, with Real Housewives of New York City cast member Bethenny Frankel stating that she was paid $7,250 for her appearance on the show's first season in 2008.[78]

A notable provision of housewives' contracts is the so-called "Bethenny clause", which states that Bravo receives 10% of the sale price of any business a cast member starts while on the show, provided that it sells for more than 1 million dollars.[79] The colloquial name for the clause is in reference to Bethenny Frankel, who sold her Skinnygirl cocktail line in 2011 for a reported $120 million.[78]

Confessional interviews[edit]

Like many reality television shows, the Real Housewives franchise makes use of confessional interviews, in which scenes are interspersed with "talking head" commentary from the cast members. Confessional interviews were originally filmed at the housewives' homes, but are now mostly shot on a soundstage in front of a green screen, with an image of the cast member's home composited behind them. Interviews are filmed periodically during and after the filming of a season, sometimes over the course of a full day, and involve the women responding to questions from an off-screen producer.[80] Over the years, cast members have adopted increasingly elaborate hair, makeup, and fashions for confessional interviews, and may spend between 45 minutes and three hours before filming in order to prepare their looks with the help of hair and makeup artists.[81] Each cast member typically has three different confessional looks for a season, which may need to be reproduced in multiple interview sessions for the sake of continuity.[81] Confessional looks must be approved in advance by producers and the network.[80]

Potential additional locations[edit]

On December 2, 2016, Cohen spoke on the future of the franchise, saying if there were to be a new installment to the franchise, it could potentially be set in Nashville. Cohen also stated that an All Star edition of the franchise would serve as an end-goal if ratings began to drop.[82] Later in December 2016, during an interview with Harry Connick Jr., Cohen stated that they look for cities with strong personalities, and agreed that New Orleans fits that criterion.[83][84]

Cities where Cohen and other producers began the casting process but ultimately decided not to create a series include Chicago, Greenwich, Houston and San Francisco.[85]

Criticism[edit]

Feminist leader Gloria Steinem has vociferously criticized the Real Housewives franchise for "presenting women as rich, pampered, dependent and hateful towards each other."[86]

"It is women, all dressed up and inflated and plastic surgeried and false bosomed and incredible amount of money spent, not getting along with each other. Fighting with each other. It is a minstrel show for women. I don't believe it, I have to say. I feel like it's manufactured, that the fights between them are manufactured and they're supposed to go after each other in a kind of conflicting way."

—Steinem summed up her dislike of the franchise in 2013[87]

Others have criticized the show for its promotion of conspicuous consumption.[88] The franchise is often analyzed through a lens of feminist political economy, and how the show "creates rich women as objects of cultural derision, well-heeled jesters in a populist court."[89]

In October 2019, The New York Times ran an article criticizing how the casts of the different Real Housewives installments appear "segregated" by skin color.[90] Author Tracie Egan Morrissey pointed to Potomac and Atlanta for their almost entirely African American casts, while the other iterations, such as Beverly Hills, Orange County, Dallas, New York, and New Jersey, are overwhelmingly white and have featured few women of color. The Real Housewives of New York did not have an African-American cast member until 2021; while the addition of Kary Brittingham to Dallas in 2019 marked the show's first Hispanic cast member. Beverly Hills, with the exception of season four’s Joyce Giraud, featured "a racially homogeneous cast throughout its run", until the addition of Garcelle Beauvais in 2019.[90]

The Real Housewives’ latest edition that premiered on June 1, 2022, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, became a subject of criticism. On 25 May 2022, a group of 12 human rights organizations wrote a letter condemning the executive producer, Andy Cohen’s decision to film the latest edition of the franchise in Dubai, which has been said to be a monarchy that has a record of practicing misogyny, homophobia, and cruelty and differentiation towards women. The groups made four major demands from Cohen namely; reveal the role of UAE in Housewives, run a disclaimer, and publicly cite past human rights abuses committed by the emirate. The producer of the show was iterated that launching a show in Dubai may risk lending the leaders of the monarchy soft propaganda to promote themselves. The rights groups included Freedom Forward, CODEPINK, FairSquare, and more.[91][92]

Syndication[edit]

The first four installments entered weekday broadcast syndication in the majority of United States markets on September 13, 2010, with episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County.[93][94] The Real Housewives of Atlanta started airing episodes in the syndicated time slot on October 25, 2010; The Real Housewives of New York City on November 29, 2010; and The Real Housewives of New Jersey on January 17, 2011. More episodes of Orange County and an encore of Atlanta finished off the season.

Parodies[edit]

Since the conception of the series, The Real Housewives franchise has been parodied in television, film, theatre and online media.

TV series[edit]

  • The Real Husbands of Hollywood is a reality television parody show broadcast on BET from January 15, 2013 to December 13, 2016, created by Kevin Hart.[95] The show ran for five seasons, before being revived on BET+ in February 2022.
  • The Hotwives is a sitcom parody show broadcast on Hulu from July 15, 2014 to September 15, 2015. The show ran for two seasons. The first season was set in Orlando, Florida, while the second was set in Las Vegas.[96]
  • In Kenya, a parody of The Real Housewives began airing in July 2014, titled Real Househelps of Kawangware.[97][98] The show was added to the South African mobile streaming service ShowMax in October 2016.[99]
  • The Disney+ series Zootopia+, a spin-off of Zootopia, features an episode titled "The Real Rodents of Little Rodentia", which is also parodies the format of The Real Housewives. In addition, Crystal Kung Minkoff from Beverly Hills and Porsha Williams from Atlanta make guest appearances voicing two of Fru Fru's friends.[100]

Film[edit]

Theatre[edit]

  • The series was parodied in August 2012 by the musical The Real Drunk Housewives of the San Fernando Valley, which featured Rachel Reilly.[103][104]
  • The musical parody The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek ran in April and May 2014 at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California. The musical was created by Molly Bell, who also starred, and was presented by the Center REPertory.[105][106] In April 2016, the musical was restaged as Real Housewives of Toluca Lake at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California.[107]
  • In the United Kingdom, the theater production The Real Hoosewives - Fae Glesga ran from September 10 to September 14, 2014, at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow.[108]
  • From January to May, 2016, a performance titled The Realish Housewives: A Parody toured cities across the United States. Each performance was titled "The Realish Housewives of [the city they performed in]".[109][110]
  • From July 16 to September 12, 2016, a parody theater piece called Housewives of Secaucus, a Suburban Travesty was shown in New Jersey and New York across several venues. The show also parodied reality television series Jersey Shore and Mob Wives[111]
  • In October 2016, a musical titled The Real Wicked Witches of Halloween Hills was performed over 2 nights on October 29 and October 30, at Westchester Broadway Theatre and Emelin Theatre in New York. The musical is a family-friendly Halloween take on The Real Housewives franchise.[112]

Web series[edit]

  • The 2009 online series The unReal Housewives of Kansas City had seven episodes in all. It was directed by Jon Davis, and starred Michelle Davidson, Meagan Flynn, Erin McGrane, Tasha Smith and Jennifer Plas. Davidson, Flynn and Plas also served as writers for the series.[113][114][115]
  • The Real Housewives of South Boston is a YouTube parody series created by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs in October 2011.[116][117]
  • Real Housewives of Benning Road is a YouTube parody series created Brooks and Amon Williams of Hardhead Films. The series aired for 3 seasons between 2013 and 2014.[118][119]
  • Nerdist aired The Real Housewives of Horror, from October 29 to December 4, 2014. The series is written and created by Brea Grant, who also stars in the series, and is a mash-up of the horror movie genre and The Real Housewives franchise.[120]
  • On April 12, 2015, former Big Brother contestant Wil Hueser released a video titled The Real Housewives of Louisville on his YouTube channel, which went on to serve as the first season. On June 16, 2016, Hueser began airing a second season of his series. The series features Hueser parodying multiple women from Louisville, including his own mother.[121][122][123]
  • In late August 2016, Real Housewives of Christchurch began airing as an online series. The series is designed as a parody of The Real Housewives of Auckland and showcases everyday women, rather than the wealthy and polished women featured on the Auckland series.[124][125] In September 2016, cast-members of The Real Housewives of Auckland, Gilda Kirkpatrick and Anne Batley-Burton, were featured in a video meeting with the ladies of The Real Housewives of Christchurch.[126]
  • In October 2016, a web series titled The Real Houseboys of Waiheke began airing as a parody of The Real Housewives and more specifically The Real Housewives of Auckland.[127]
  • In a collaboration with Bravo, Mashable began airing an online mini-series titled The Real Housekids. It began on August 1, 2016, and featured children recreating well-known scenes from the franchise. In total four episodes were released, three featuring scenes from The Real Housewives of Atlanta and one featuring a scene from The Real Housewives of Orange County.[128][129][130]
  • In 2017 Jimmy Tatro and Christian A. Pierce created The Real Bros of Simi Valley, which premiered on YouTube and later moved to Facebook Watch in season 2

Sketches[edit]

  • From 2009 to 2012, a recurring sketch titled The Real Housewives of Late Night aired on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The sketch featured the men dressing up as their wives in a parody of The Real Housewives franchise.[131][132][133]
  • On November 2, 2010, Saturday Night Live parodied The Real Housewives franchise as a whole, with a segment titled Women of SNL. The segment was stylized as though it were a reunion special, which guest starred Andy Cohen making a cameo as the host for the segment. The skit featured classic housewives moments spoofed by many women who are a part of Saturday Night Live, including Rachel Dratch, Nora Dunn, Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laraine Newman, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, and Kristen Wiig.[134][135][136]
  • Saturday Night Live parodied The Real Housewives again on March 3, 2012, with a sketch called Real Housewives of Disney guest starring Lindsay Lohan as Rapunzel.[137]
  • On August 14, 2012, The Real Housekeepers of Long Island was released online as a parody of the series, created by Tyler Gildin.[138][139]
  • On October 12, 2012, a segment was published on Funny or Die titled The Real Dragwives: Very Rich. The video is a parody of a scene from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, with Latrice Royale in the role of NeNe Leakes and DiDa Ritz in the role of Sheree Whitfield.[133][140]
  • From May 24 to November 8, 2015, the Australian sketch show Open Slather frequently parodied the series with the sketch The Real Housewives of The World. The sketch featured prominent women in politics in the format of The Real Housewives. The cast included Marg Downey as Helen Clark, Gina Riley as Hillary Clinton and Magda Szubanski as Angela Merkel. In the same series, Gina Riley also played a parodied version of The Real Housewives of Melbourne cast member Gina Liano.[141][142]
  • In June 2015, Dirty Cues Productions produced the parody The Real Housewives of Westeros, combining the popular HBO show Game of Thrones with the Real Housewives franchise.[143][144]
  • On November 5, 2014, a parody titled Housewives of Narromine aired in Australia, on ABC's Indigenous sketch show, Black Comedy.[145] The skit featured back and forth comedy between two characters located in Narromine, played by Deborah Mailman and Elizabeth Wymarra.[146][147]
  • On June 16, 2016, the franchise was parodied in episode 9 in the fourth season of Inside Amy Schumer. Amy Schumer parodied The Real Housewives' reunion with Andy Cohen making a guest appearance as himself, as the host.[148]
  • In New Zealand, a parody series called Fresh Housewives of South Auckland aired on TV2 during the Saturday morning segment Fresh and was released online. It ran for eight episodes from November September 11, to November 2, 2016.[149][150][151]
  • On October 14, 2016, a parody video was released online called The Real Housewitches of Salem. The video parodied The Real Housewives as well as Hocus Pocus and Mean Girls.[152][153]
  • In January 2017, the BBC2 comedy show Revolting aired the sketch "The Real Housewives of ISIS", which featured women affiliated with the terrorist organization in the style of The Real Housewives franchise.[154][155]

Other parodies and allusions[edit]

  • In 2009, Amy Phillips began impersonating stars from Bravo and many other celebrities on her YouTube channel and eventually began parodying the women from The Real Housewives. Since she began, Phillips has since been endorsed by Bravo and has made several appearances on Watch What Happens Live.[156][157] In January 2016, Phillips parodied both The Real Housewives and Star Wars in Star Wars: The Housewives Awaken, during her segment Reality Checked with Amy Phillips, on SiriusXM's Radio Andy.[158]
  • The 30 Rock episodes "Queen of Jordan" (2011) and "Queen of Jordan 2: Mystery of the Phantom Pooper" (2012) were both structured as episodes of a fictional reality show called Queen of Jordan which parodied several personalities and events of The Real Housewives franchise, particularly The Real Housewives of New Jersey.[159] The 2012 episode "Idiots Are People Three!" also featured Denise Richards parodying LuAnn de Lesseps's song "Chic, C'est La Vie" as "J'adore La Piscine".[160]
  • On February 26, 2012, The Real Housewives was parodied during episode 2 of the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, during a task sponsored by Medieval Times. Contestant and star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Giudice recreated her table-flipping scene from The Real Housewives of New Jersey in a segment titled The Unreal Housewives of Camelot.[161][162]
  • In the 2013 film The Best Man Holiday, Melissa De Sousa's character "Shelby" is a star of the fictional reality show The Real Housewives of Westchester.[163][164]
  • In episode 9 of the fourth season of Hot in Cleveland, which aired on January 23, 2013, actress, and cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Heather Dubrow guest starred as Nikki, the wife of Emmet (Alan Dale), who is trying to get on the fictional series True Housewives of Tampa St. Pete.[165][166]
  • SBS 2's The Feed parodied the franchise in August 2014, with a segment titled The Real Newsreaders Of Sydney. The segment featured Sandra Sully, Lee Lin Chin and Natalie Barr.[167]
  • On May 4, 2015, The Real Housewives was parodied during the tenth episode in the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race. In a mini-challenge titled Fake Housewives of RuPaul's Drag Race, the contestants were challenged to create a tagline, replicating the taglines of The Real Housewives franchise, as well as replicating plastic surgery using tape.[133][168]
  • The Real Tradies Of Melbourne is an online video released on July 29, 2015, created to promote awareness for Tradies National Health Month. The video features Shane Jacobson, as well as original The Real Housewives of Melbourne cast member Andrea Moss.[169]
  • On August 11, 2016, during an episode of Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen featured a segment titled The Real Housewives of Rio, inspired by the then-ongoing 2016 Summer Olympics. The segment featured current and former Olympians (like Nadia Comăneci) delivering Real Housewives-style taglines.[170]
  • On October 27, 2016, a scene from The Real Housewives of New York City, featuring Aviva Drescher throwing her prosthetic leg, was parodied by Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 during the reunion for the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars.[171][172]
  • On October 26, 2016, the We the Voters campaign released a video online titled Real Voters of the USA, which used the format of The Real Housewives franchise to display that people could discuss politics without fighting. The video featured three housewives who were portrayed by Anabelle Acosta, Charlotte McKinney and Analeigh Tipton.[173][174][175]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The franchise has collectively won one Critics' Choice Television Award and four National Reality Television Awards, and has been nominated for 24 total National Reality Television Awards, 18 People's Choice Awards, 12 MTV Movie & TV Awards, four AACTA Awards, three Critics' Choice Real TV Awards, two Dorian Awards, a Leo Award, a TCA Award, a Canadian Screen Award, and a TRIC Award.

Year Award Category Program Result
2010 Dorian Award Campy TV Show of the Year Real Housewives of New Jersey Nominated
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure Real Housewives of New Jersey Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Reality Series Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Won
Dorian Award Campy TV Show of the Year Real Housewives franchise Nominated
2013 Canadian Screen Awards Reality/Competition Program or Series Real Housewives of Vancouver Nominated
2014 AACTA Awards Best Editing in Television The Real Housewives of Melbourne Nominated
2015 AACTA Awards Best Reality Series The Real Housewives of Melbourne Nominated
National Reality Television Awards Best Reality Non-Competition Show The Real Housewives of Cheshire Nominated
Best International Show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Nominated
2016 National Reality Television Awards Outstanding Achievement Award Lisa Vanderpump Won
Best International Show Vanderpump Rules Won
Best Female Personality Ampika Pickston
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Won
2017 Best Reality Non-Competition Show Real Housewives of Cheshire Nominated
Best International Show Vanderpump Rules Nominated
The Real Housewives of Atlanta Nominated
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Nominated
Celebrity Personality of the Year Lisa Vanderpump
(Vanderpump Rules)
Nominated
Ampika Pickston
(Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Won
Best Female Personality Nominated
2018 People's Choice Awards The Reality Show of 2018 Vanderpump Rules Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Reality Series/Franchise Real Housewives Nominated
Vanderpump Rules Nominated
TRIC Awards Reality Programme The Real Housewives of Cheshire Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Reality Series The Real Housewives of Melbourne Nominated
Leo Awards Best Sound (Information, Lifestyle, or Reality Series) The Real Housewives of Toronto Nominated
National Reality Television Awards Best International Show The Real Housewives of New York Nominated
2019 People's Choice Awards The Reality Show of 2019 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Nominated
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Nominated
Vanderpump Rules Nominated
The Reality Star of 2019 Kandi Burrus
(The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Nominated
Nene Leakes
(The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Nominated
Kyle Richards
(The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Nominated
Lisa Vanderpump
(The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Reality Royalty Lisa Vanderpump
(The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Nominated
Critics' Choice Real TV Award Ensemble Cast in an Unscripted Series The Real Housewives of New York City Nominated
2020 People's Choice Awards The Reality Show of 2020 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Nominated
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Nominated
The Reality Star of 2020 Kandi Burrus
(The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Nominated
Porsha Williams
(The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Nominated
Lisa Rinna
(The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Nominated
National Reality Television Awards Best Reality Non-Competition Show The Real Housewives of Cheshire Nominated
Reality Personality of the Year Seema Malhotra
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
Tanya Bardsley
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
Best Female Personality Nominated
Celebrity Personality of the Year Nicole Sealey
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
2021 People's Choice Awards The Reality Show of 2021 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Nominated
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Nominated
The Reality Star of 2021 Kandi Burrus
(The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Nominated
Lisa Rinna
(The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Reality Cast The Real Housewives of Atlanta Nominated
Best New Unscripted Series The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Nominated
Best Fight Jackie Goldschneider vs. Teresa Giudice
(The Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Reality Series The Real Housewives of Melbourne Nominated
National Reality Television Awards Best Reality Non-Competition Show The Real Housewives of Cheshire Nominated
Reality Personality of the Year Seema Malhotra
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
Tanya Bardsley
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
Best Female Personality Nominated
Celebrity Personality of the Year Nicole Sealey
(The Real Housewives of Cheshire)
Nominated
2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Docu-Reality Show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Pending
Best Unscripted Series The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Pending
Best Reality Star Teresa Giudice
(The Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Pending
Best Fight Candiace Dillard Bassett vs. Mia Thornton
(The Real Housewives of Potomac)
Pending
Margaret Josephs vs. Teresa Giudice
(The Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Pending
Best Reality Romance Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix
(Vanderpump Rules)
Pending
Critics' Choice Real TV Awards Unstructured Series The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Pending
Best Ensemble Cast in an Unscripted Series Pending
TCA Award Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Pending

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

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General and cited references[edit]

  • Moylan, Brian (2021). The Housewives: The Real Story Behind The Real Housewives. ISBN 978-1-250-80760-1.

External links[edit]