The Real Housewives was first announced as one of six reality TV series ordered by American TV channel Bravo in May 2005.
It is inspired by the scripted soap opera Desperate Housewives and Peyton Place and documents the lives of upper-class women who “live glamorous lives in picturesque Southern California gated communities where the average home has a $1.6 million price tag and residents include CEOs and retired professional athletes.”
Real Housewives of Orange County- It’s just Beginning
The series was announced as the Real Housewives of Orange County in January 2006 and premiered on March 21 of the same year.
Real Housewives of New York City
In September 2007, Bravo began production on the series Manhattan Moms, which “follows an eclectic group of Gotham socialists and their families.” The series was later renamed as The Real Housewives of New York City in January 2008, serving as the first spinoff from the Real Housewives franchise. It premiered on March 4, 2008.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
The second spinoff, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” was announced in June and premiered on October 7.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
The third spinoff The Real Housewives of New Jersey was mentioned in May 2008 before the confirmation of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It then premiered on May 12, 2009. The Real Housewives of DC was announced in October 2009. It premiered on August 5, 2010, and ended on October 21, 2010 after one season. It gained notoriety as the only Real Housewives franchise to be canceled. The cancelation was largely due to the public outcry resulting from one of the housewives, Michaele Salahi and her husband crashed an official White House function (without an invitation).
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was announced in March 2010 and premiered on October 14, 2010. In March 2010, Bravo ordered a series titled Miami Social Club. The series was later re-titled The Real Housewives of Miami. It premiered on February 22, 2011 and ended on November 4, 2013 for the first time in three seasons.
The Real Housewives of Potomac
In November 2015, Bravo announced two new Real Housewives series, The Real Housewives of Potomac and The Real Housewives of Dallas. Before it was announced, The Real Housewives of Potomac was first titled Potomac Ensemble during early production. It premiered on January 17, 2016.
The Real Housewives of Dallas
The Real Housewives of Dallas was originally titled Dallas Woman during its early production, but a potential spin-off series to Ladies of London. The series premiered on April 11, 2016.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
In November 2019, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was announced. It premiered on November 11, 2020.
The Real Housewives of Miami
That same month, Andy Cohen, executive producer of Bravo’s Real Housewives series, confirmed that he was trying to get streaming service Peacock to welcome The Real Housewives of Miami for a fourth season. In February 2021, it was confirmed that The Real Housewives of Miami would reboot on Peacock.
The Real Housewives: the Future
On December 2, 2016, Cohen spoke about the future of the franchise and said it could be set in Nashville, Tennessee, if there is a new insanity in the franchise. Cohen also said the All-Star version will as the franchise’s ultimate goal as ratings begin to go down. He added that eight housewives with “big personalities” from each series on the island are likely to feature together. In December 2016, in an interview with Harry Connick Jr., Cohen said he was looking for a city with a strong personality and agreed that New Orleans would fit that standard.
The producer and Andy Cohen appeared in Chicago, Greenwich, San Francisco and Houston, but did not pursue them.
The Real Housewives and Criticism
The reality series has been criticized for promoting consumerism through programming. It is also seen as perpetuating gender stereotypes by highlighting women more as shoppers than career women. Their lavish lifestyle also contributes to the misconception that financial wealth equals happiness. [Citation needed] feminist leader Gloria Steinem has vociferously criticized the “Housewives” franchise for “giving women rich, spoiled, dependent and hateful each other.” Steinem summed up her distaste for the show in 2013:
‘It’s an incredible amount of money spent, being a woman, not getting along with each other with all the dress-ups and inflatables, plastic surgery and fake boredom.’ Fight each other. It is a minstrel show for women. I don’t believe it, I must say. I feel like they’ve been manufactured, that the fights between them are going to be manufactured and they’re supposed to chase each other in a kind of conflicting way.
The New York Times published an article in October 2019 criticizing how the cast of the different Housewives franchises are “separated” by their skin color. Author Tracy Egan Morrissey points to Potomac and Atlanta for an almost entirely African-American cast, while other iterations (Beverly Hills, Orange County, Dallas, New York and New Jersey) are overwhelmingly white, with few women of color. The Real Housewives of New York didn’t have an African-American cast until 2021, but in 2019 she joined Dallas with Carly Brittingham, having become the show’s first Hispanic cast member. Beverly Hills featured a “racially homogeneous cast throughout its run” until the addition of Garcell Beauvais in 2019, with the exception of Joyce Girot in Season 4.