Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' to premiere March 21
By Reality TV World staff, 01/06/2006
Bravo has announced that The Real Housewives of Orange County, its new reality documentary series, will premiere Tuesday, March 21 at 10PM ET/PT.
First announced back in May without the "of Orange County" clause that makes it sound like a parental edition of MTV's Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (which itself was presented as a reality version of Fox's The O.C.), Bravo doesn't try and hide the fact that like Laguna Beach, The Real Housewives was envisioned as an unscripted version of a popular primetime soap -- in this case ABC's smash-hit Desperate Housewives.
"Bravo continues to innovate in the reality TV genre with this riveting series exploring the complicated daily lives of five privileged women and their families," Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick stated in announcing the show's premiere date. "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 seven-episode series, The Real Housewives will document life in what Bravo calls "one of the wealthiest planned communities in the country." According to the network, the women "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."
All five the women "are used to the good life and will do everything they can to hang on to it." And "from diamond parties to Botox sessions to the stress of having a high-powered career," Bravo's cameras will follow it all.
Not surprisingly, the network hasn't disclosed the exact ages of the Botox users, instead stating only that four of them are "40-something" while the fifth woman is a "20-something" trophy wife-to-be that will be marrying one of the neighborhood's divorced fathers.
The five women (just like Desperate Housewives, and complete with a younger latina) are:
• Kimberly Bryant, a 40-something woman that Bravo describes as "the classic trophy wife, thanks to her plastic surgeon and husband's money" (although no doubt several of the other women could be described similarly.) Kimberly has two children with her husband Scott, a corporate executive, and is said to be "incredibly articulate and hard-working."
• Jeana Keough, a 40-something former Playboy Playmate and actress who "is now" the wife of former major league baseball pitcher Matt Keough. A mother of three who has lived in the gated community for 19 years, Jeans also sells real estate "for fun" and the insider gossip.
• Vicki Gunvalson, a 40-something "successful, self-made woman to be reckoned with." Vicki has two teenage children -- the youngest of which is getting ready to leave for college -- and is a "lucrative insurance broker" and "devout Christian" who is on her second marriage.
• Lauri Waring, a 40-something woman who works as an insurance broker for Vicki. A mother of three (one of whom was just released from juvenile hall) who recently got divorced, Lauri has been "forced to downsize her lifestyle" and is said to be "struggling to regain her status in the community."
• Jo De La Rosa, a 20-something "newbie" member of the community who recently became engaged to Slade Smiley (yes, that does appear to be his real name), one of the community's divorced dads. Described as "confident and sexy," Jo is "trying to figure out her place in this strange new world."
Although The Real Housewives was obviously inspired by a blend of Desperate Housewives, Laguna Beach, and even The O.C., the show has no connection with any of the production companies involved in those shows. Instead, The Real Housewives of Orange County was "created" by executive producer Scott Dunlop and is produced by Kaufman Films and Dunlop Entertainment. Kevin Kaufman, Patrick Moses, and Dave Rupel -- for whom the network cites older reality shows Big Brother 2, Temptation Island, and The Real World: London that he got his start on but makes no mention of the more recent and unimpressive Bands Reunited and American Princess projects where he actually had an executive producer role -- also serve as executive producers.