The Real Housewives franchise has swept the nation since premiering in 2006, with its first installment, The Real Housewives of Orange County. Nine years later, seven American installments, five international installments and nine spin offs in tow; it is one of the highest grossing reality franchises, boasting numbers upwards of 2 million for single episodes. The franchise known for its crazy antics presented to the viewer by none other than women who are usually pushing 40 years old; not all of them wives, most of them mothers and never as rich as they claim; the series has brought new definition to what reality television is, and could be. This list compiles The Real Housewives franchise from worst to best.
12. The Real Housewives of Athens
There is not much to be said about this series, probably being the least successful of all the series. It lasted 2 short months and failed to have the glitz and glamour that its sister series had. The viewers complained about the cast that was chosen, stating that they should have used the real Athenian women that live in the fancy houses at the top of the mountains. In addition to the viewers hating the cast, they also could not find out when they were actually going to see some drama. It seemed as though all the women were friends, not best friends, but close enough that they weren’t throwing each other under the bus for more camera time, and let’s be honest, that is why we watch shows like this. The only salacious thing about the show was the circumstances that it premiered under; the series debuted during Greece’s financial crisis. The producers and cast strategically chose not to show how big anyone’s house was, what kind of amenities their properties offered and most importantly, they do not show the women on extravagant shopping trips. According to an article written by The New York Times, this was done in an effort to hide from the Greek government in fear of higher taxes. In one scene, cast member Orthoula visits her brother who does not allow the camera crew to film his backyard and show his pool, in fear of accusations of tax evasion. Never-the-less, it looks like Andy Cohen dropped the ball on this one.
11. The Real Housewives of Vancouver
The first Canadian installment, and most likely the last Canadian installment of the Real Housewives franchise. These Vancouver housewives were two seasons of plastic surgery, trips to Whistler B.C. and “Prada Slippers”. Premiering in April, 2012, the series got off to a good start, despite little publicity and no recognizable wives to draw the viewers’ attention. The 2-hour premiere still managed to achieve the record of highest-rated premiere for the Slice network, with 1.2 million viewers. However, as the series moved on to season two, the numbers dropped and the lack of drama stifled viewership. Although not officially cancelled, the show is said to be on hiatus while the production company explores “other options”. In the meantime, the women are busy suing one another for anything ranging from defamation and libel.
10. Me’usharot (The Real Housewives of Tel Aviv)
Yes! There is a Real Housewives of Israel and yes, it is everything you would imagine. The series began in 2011, but was initially cancelled after its first season due to lack of interest; Me’usharot (which translates to rich women) was brought back in 2012, to a much pleased audience. It is an abundance of big hair, lots of self tanner and malicious cat fights. Although, It is not officially a part of the American franchise, it carries similar traits of the original series; women who are either successful on their own merit, or women who married into money. A season three was ordered which is rumored to include a few men in the role of housewives.
9. The Real Housewives of Melbourne
The third international installment on our list and new to the franchise beginning in early 2014, these Australians are nothing to mess with. They are CEO’s, Barristers and even one psychic, Jackie Gillies (who’s abilities stirred the pot quite a bit). Originally only airing in the United Kingdom, it had such a warm reception that Bravo began airing season one in August 2014. The season was jam-packed with drama that was not hard to miss; accusations of seeing dead grandmothers, rubbing self tanner on cast mates bathroom walls and wearing Gucci high heels on grade A AstroTurf. However, the successful, yet messy theatrical performances paid off; they were picked up for a second season and even added two new women to the mix. Season two started filming in August and is set to premiere early 2015.
8. Les Vraies Housewives (The Real Housewives) French Edition
Did I mention that there is a French version of the Real Housewives? Well, let me also mention that if you are lucky enough, or better yet, look hard enough and find the version with subtitles, you are in for a treat! Dubbed the reality Bold and the Beautiful by PurePeople (that’s a French tabloid magazine), their slogan is literally “they are five and they are French”. There is a bit of a twist to this series. All the women are French but they all live in sunny Los Angeles, having moved to better their lives; sounds noble right? Not so much. The press was very critical of this show, flat out calling it a “mirror of stupidity”. Chances for a second season are slim to none, considering that the show was mostly associated with words like trashy, ridiculous and embarrassing.
7. The Real Housewives of D.C.
So much can be said about this lackluster season. In addition to having no drama, it was rife with political chatter and only lasted one boring season. Premiering in August of 2010, this season is more so known for its drama AFTER the series had already been cancelled, mostly coming from Michaele and Tareq Salahi supposedly lying about his family’s fortune in the wine industry; and later on for Michaele disappearing, then reappearing, only to find out she has started a new relationship with the lead guitarist of the band Journey, Neal Schon (while still married to Tareq). Where was this drama when the show was on the air you ask? Housewife Stacie Scott Turner stated in an interview with the Washington Post, that this group of women just handle things differently- they are not flipping tables, pulling weaves or fighting like children.
6. The Real Housewives of Miami
Focusing mostly on Cuban women in season one, the Real Housewives of Miami debuted in 2011 to questionable numbers. The viewers thought it was too racially centered on the Cubans of Miami, and wanted more diversity. Miraculously getting picked up for a second season, the show replaced two cast members, Christy Rice and Larsa Pippen with two more Cuban women. Most of the women had questionable backgrounds that could stir up a lot of drama; like Alexia Echevierra’s bout with a drug dealing, sex offender ex-husband, Adriana de Moura’s fake wedding to a man she was already married to, and Karent Sierra’s fake relationship with a Spanish soap opera star. The series finished its third season in 2013, and since then, it has kind of disappeared (besides a reassuring Tweet from a cast member every once in a while, stating that the show has been commissioned for a fourth season). As of October 2014, like the Vancouver series, the show has not been renewed or cancelled.
5. The Real Housewives of New York
The second installment of the franchise included a countess, a model and the woman who birthed the heir to the J.P Morgan financial group. With so many egos in the pot, it was bound to boil over. Believed to be the oldest cast (age wise), this series goes to show you that age is never a factor when it comes to drama. These women could throw champagne glasses with the best of them and hey, sometimes even prosthetic legs. This series has included accusations that range from lying about property ownership, to infidelity and everything in between (even often throwing parties in the Hamptons that end in bottle-throwing fights and cast on cast slander). Most recently, a majority of the drama surrounded Aviva Drescher and her overly sexual father who unnecessarily announced that he was getting married to a 25-year old woman.
4. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
We’re 5 seasons in and although this series has had its ups and downs, it seems to be on an up so far this season. Premiering in 2010, and created at the demand of the viewers wanting to see the lives of women in Beverly Hills, the show premiered to phenomenal numbers. Starting off with a bang involving Camille Grammer’s nasty divorce to actor Kelsey Grammer, and Kim Richards’ obvious drug addiction, the drama only went up from there. There were fist fights, verbal assaults, house fires and more nasty divorces, even their “friends” brought the drama (Faye Resnick, known for engaging in some of the most aggressive fights seen on RHoBH and Dana Wilkey, bragging about over spending on a pair of sunglasses). Housewives come and go on this spin off, but the premiere of season five on November 18th brought all the original housewives back together, proving that replacements don’t last.
3. The Real Housewives of Orange County
Nine seasons in, 16 housewives, two spin offs (including a wedding and a dating show) and by far the craziest women of all the women to participate in the Real Housewives franchise. So, why is it number 3 on my list, and not number one? Simple, crazy does not always mean good. If you’re a fan of the Real Housewives franchise, then you know that Orange County started it all. Beginning in 2006, and fresh off the heels of the TV show Laguna Beach, that put Orange County on the map, we met Vicki, Jo, Jeana, Lauri and Kimberly, and out of these five women, the only original left is Vicki, automatically making her queen bee. She wears that title well, with accusations towards the other women of lying, cheating, backstabbing and slandering her name. The drama in this show has (like the others) been up and down, and being the first in a franchise, it is sometimes a guinea pig for trying out new concepts and ideas that don’t always go over well. The show started off wholesome and classy, following women who were housewives but also so much more, some owned businesses, one was battling cancer and one became an instant mom. Fast forward to 2014, and you’ve got grown women partying in Cabo, the stomping group for underage spring breakers.
2. The Real Housewives of New Jersey
This is probably the most talked about cast of the franchise, especially this past season, due to cast members Joe and Teresa Giudice gearing up to go to prison for bank fraud, writing bad checks and lying on their taxes. Like RHoOC, the cast has been shaken up a bit, interchanging between 10 housewives who come and go as they please (Dina left after season 2 and came back in season 6). This series takes drama to a new level, including friends in illegal places, accusations of being a former stripper, table flipping, husbands sleeping with their wives’ mothers and mixed into all of that, learning how to make pasta sauce from scratch! Because this cast is made up mostly of family, the excitement can get awkward and cross barriers that no family should show on television. Brother- in-laws getting into physical fights, family members calling each other garbage and parents disowning their children because they decided to choose sides. Unfortunately, season 6 just ended and it looks like housewife favorite, Teresa Giudice will be going to jail. Season 7 is said to be up in the air because let’s face it, RHoNJ is nothing without its star player.
1. The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Number one on our list is The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Premiering in 2008, with a predominantly black cast, these women had it all; rich husbands and shady back stories. They were loud, obnoxious and not afraid to snatch a friend’s wig off in public if they felt disrespected. However, 7 seasons in and the breakout star is the least expected; Nene Leakes (former stripper, queen bee of the A, and the only original cast member left). RHoA featured drama that would make your head spin; lingerie parties turned into all out brawls, bankruptcy after bankruptcy and breakups to makeups. Most recently, cast member Phaedra Parks’ husband, Apollo Nida has been convicted and sentenced to 8 years in jail for fraud and theft, mostly against senior citizens. What makes it even juicier is the fact that Phaedra is a criminal lawyer.