Bravo has announced that it has renewed The Real Housewives of Orange County, a docu-soap reality series that follows a group of real-life "desperate" housewives who live in a wealthy Southern California gated community, for a new eight-episode second season that will premiere in late 2006.

Production on The Real Housewives' second season is expected to begin later this summer. In addition to featuring continuing to follow the lives of the show's first season women, new personalities will be introduced.

"The new season will pick up from where the last season left off, but with new dramas, new relationships and new characters," Bravo executive Frances Berwick told reporters during Thursday's Television Critics Association summer press tour session. "Viewers can continue to follow the complicated lives of each of these ladies, and experience their emotional highs and lows."

Although The Real Housewives' Spring 2006 first season didn't deliver massive Project Runway-like ratings, it was nonetheless a rating success for Bravo (which as a basic cable network, measures ratings success in much smaller numbers than the over-the-air broadcast networks.) The Real Housewives' first season averaged 646,000 total viewers, 503,000 viewers between ages 18-49, and 440,000 viewers between 25-54 -- numbers that represented a 19% increase in Bravo's previous year's time period average in total viewers, a 47% increase in Adults 18-49, and a 26% increase in Adults 25-54. The Real Housewives also had a median age of 34.4, a figure that made it youngest-skewing show on Bravo's schedule during its first season run.

In a bit of an unusual behind-the-scenes move, Kaufman Films, who along with Dunlop Entertainment, the production company of The Real Housewives creator Scott Dunlop, produced the show's first season, won't produce the show's second season.

Instead, while Dunlop will still return as executive producer, Bravo announced that it has tapped Evolution Film & Tape Inc. -- which produced Bravo's Boy Meets Boy but was also responsible for the disastrous first season of CBS's Big Brother (CBS replaced them after the show's initial season) -- to produce The Real Housewives' new season. Douglas Ross, Gregory Steward, Kathleen French and Dean Minerd -- Evolution's four partners -- will serve as executive producers. Other previous reality programs produced by Evolution include NBC's Fear Factor, VH1's Bands Reunited, and TBS's He's A Lady, House Rules, and The Mansion.