Word on the street is that Bravo wants to replace the entire cast of the Real Housewives of New York with newer housewives that are as rich as those on the Beverly Hills incarnation of the reality show. You have to wonder exactly what Bravo is up to and read in-between the lines. First of all, the problem with the Real Housewives of New York franchise is not that the women were not rich enough. They did a great job of showing rich women in New York, and showcasing Manhattan and making the city of New York a character in the show.
Bravo cannibalized their own show by focusing too much on Bethenny Frankel. They knew that the ship was sinking and that later part of the season where Bethenny left was entirely focused on her. I am sure that Bethenny is glad that she got out of the franchise when she did, but her own life is very fascinating and worth watching. You have to look at the fact that while Bethenny is not the richest person on a reality show, she is entertaining and can engage an audience. The New York franchise should showcase New York as everyone has grown to love it; cerebral, narcissistic, mean, gritty fast moving. I like the Beverly Hills show, but the drama on that show is almost as pretentious as the setting itself. At least the New York franchise was real, and had an authenticity that the other shows liked. I felt that New Jersey was a bit ghetto for my tastes but it shows housewives that working class women can relate to, as does Atlanta.
The reason that some installments of The Real Housewives, such as DC and Miami, fail, and others shine, such as Atlanta and Beverly Hills, is because women can connect to the characters. The Real Housewives of DC was not even about Washington DC; never in a single episode did we ever get a feel for Washington DC. Instead Bravo focused all of their energies on Northern Virginia, and if you are going to talk about the metropolitan area of Washington DC instead of DC itself you have to throw in those rich suburbs of Washington DC that are in Maryland. No one really cares about Northern Virginia outside of the state of Virginia and the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) metro area itself. The average American knows absolutely nothing about Northern Virginia, and has no interest in getting to know the place.
It simply felt as though Bravo was admitting defeat by stating that the high income that is required to be on the show could not be found in Washington DC itself. Yet at the same time, the women from The Real Housewives of Atlanta are not glamorous themselves. They have money, but the show feels like it has an upper middle class vibe, and I know that there has to be someone in Atlanta that has more money than the people they chose to be on that show. The drama in the DC franchise was all about politics, which is boring anyway.
The Real Housewives is not about money, wealth and glamor. Sure we may have initially watched the series for that reason, but we have moved on and expect Bravo to do the same. We have fallen in love with the characters of the show. Either the producers of the show are running out of ideas themselves, and are digressing and falling back on the idea of wealth and the glamorous lifestyle to encourage viewers to tune in again, or they do not know how to find the drama where it truly exists (or create it by encouraging cast members to act in a particular way). If anything the direction that the show is moving in can be found in the New Jersey show; working class heroes that moved up the ladder and are not born with a spoon in their mouths duking it out and delivering record ratings with each and every episode. Other reality shows do not focus on glamor as much as The Real Housewives does, and Bravo may have thought they could sell viewers onto a different type of reality show, when in reality, the show has simply adapted to viewers tastes by showing the same drama that exists on every other reality show …