The Real Housewives of Orange County (abbreviated RHOC) is an American reality television series that premiered on March 21, 2006 on Bravo. It has aired nine seasons and focuses on the personal and professional lives of several women residing in Orange County, California. The series has rotated through sixteen housewives throughout its run. It originally focused on Kimberly Bryant, Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough, and Lauri Waring. The current lineup of housewives consists of Gunvalson, Tamra Barney, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Beador, and Lizzie Rovsek; the latter four women respectively joined the series during the third, seventh, and ninth seasons.
Its success has allowed for the development of The Real Housewives franchise and similar spin-off series based in New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills, and Miami. The Real Housewives of Orange County has additionally resulted in the conceptions of the spin-offs Date My Ex and Tamra's OC Wedding.
Overview and casting:
In May 2005, The Real Housewives was announced as one of six reality television series ordered by the American television channel Bravo; before its premiere, it was renamed The Real Housewives of Orange County in January 2006. Its creator, Scott Dunlop, commented that it was originally planned to be set in a single gated community in Coto de Caza, California. A press release issued by the network noted that the series was inspired by the scripted soap operas Desperate Housewives and Peyton Place, and would document the lives of upper-class women who "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."
Its original main housewives were Kimberly Bryant, Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough and Lauri Waring. Bryant departed from the program from the first season; in her absence, Tammy Knickerbocker joined the series during the second season. The third season saw the departure of De La Rosa and the additions of Tamra Barney and Quinn Fry. Fry departed after the conclusion of the season, and was replaced by Lynne Curtin and Gretchen Rossi beginning with the fourth season. Keough and Waring were substituted with Alexis Bellino for the fifth season, while Peggy Tanous succeeded Curtin in the sixth season. She was replaced by Heather Dubrow beginning in the seventh season, while Lydia McLaughlin was introduced to the series for the eighth season. For the ninth season, Bellino, McLaughlin, and Rossi were replaced by Shannon Beador and Lizzie Rovsek.
Timeline of housewives:
Jo De La Rosa
Friend of the Housewives
The first season highlights Keough adjusting after her son Shane leaves for college, while De La Rosa begins seeing Slade Smiley. After being added in the second season, single mother Knickerbocker tries balancing dating and parenting her two daughters Megan and Lindsey. The continued relationship between De La Rosa and Smiley places a strain on her friendship with Waring, although the couple separates during the season. Meanwhile, De La Rosa pursues a career in the music industry, and Waring becomes engaged. In the third season, Gunvalson manages after both her son Michael and daughter Briana move out, while Knickerbocker and her daughters deal with the sudden death of her ex-husband Lou. The newly introduced Barney experiences difficulty remedying the tensions between her adult son Ryan and her current husband Simon, the former of whom had recently moved back into their residence.
The fourth season sees Barney reconnecting with estranged father, dealing with tension with Ryan, and raising her three young children with Simon. Gunvalson juggles between expanding her insurance company and reviving her failing marriage to her husband Donn. Keough files for separation from her husband Matt, while the newly married Waring (now Peterson) find herself in conflict with her son Josh. Rossi and her fiancé Jeff cope with his diagnosis with a rare form of Leukemia; however, the housewives are skeptical of her intentions based on her party girl reputation. Rossi begins dating after Jeff had passed away by the fifth season, and frequently clashes with Barney despite an attempted reconciliation between the women. Gunvalson remains passionate about maintaining her professional career and her marriage, while Barney, Keough, and their husbands suffer from financial difficulties in light of the collapsing economy. Bellino is married to her husband Jim, with whom she parents their toddler-aged twin daughters.
Barney files for divorce from Simon in the sixth season. She is stressed by her worsening problems with Rossi and another feud with Keough, who briefly resurfaces after spreading false rumors about Barney in the media. After expressing her eagerness for independence from Jim, Bellino launches a fashion collection of dresses. Gunvalson continues to thrive in the workplace, although her relationship with Donn becomes increasingly distant and non-salvageable. Despite contemplating marriage, Rossi is plagued by speculation that her boyfriend Smiley is a deadbeat parent and knowledge of his previous relationships with housewives. New housewife and stay-at-home mother Tanous explores the possibility of revitalizing her modelling career. After filing for divorce from Donn in the seventh season, Gunvalson and her boyfriend Brooks Ayers are met with resistance from friends and family. Barney and Rossi form an unexpected companionship, which places a strain on Barney's companionship with Gunvalson and Rossi's relationships with Bellino and Smiley. Barney and her boyfriend Eddie Judge become increasingly serious in their relationship, while Bellino begins a demanding position as a local news correspondent. Rossi performs with The Pussycat Dolls with the intention of jump-starting a career in the entertainment industry, while new housewife and former actress Dubrow raises her four children with her plastic surgeon husband Terry.
In the eighth season, the newly engaged Barney and Judge move in together, prepare for their upcoming nuptials, and arrange for the opening of their fitness studio Cut Fitness. Bellino becomes friends with Gunvalson after feeling isolated from several of the housewives. Dubrow reestablishes her presence in the entertainment industry after securing recurring positions in the television series Hot in Cleveland and Malibu Country, while Gunvalson embraces being a grandmother to Briana's newborn son Troy when her relationship with Ayers becomes increasingly turbulent. Rossi reconsiders marriage and beginning a family after her relationship with Smiley becomes more stable; new housewife McLaughlin and her husband Doug connect with the Bellinos over their shared devotion to Christianity. In the ninth season, Dubrow continues pursuing her acting endeavors while her overseeing the construction of her new family mansion, while newlywed Barney (now Judge) considers having a child with Eddie. Still struggling to find common ground between Briana and Ayers, Gunvalson worries that Briana and her husband Ryan will likely relocate to Oklahoma. New housewife Beador find difficulties in balancing her career and marriage to her husband David, while another new housewife Lizzie Rovsek is unsure whether to pursue her acting career or have a third child with her husband Christian.
Date My Ex became the first spin-off from The Real Housewives of Orange County; the dating game show documented De La Rosa as she began dating after moving to Los Angeles, where potential suitors were regularly surveyed by Smiley. It premiered on June 30, 2008 and ended on September 8, 2008 after broadcasting nine episodes during its first and only season. After becoming engaged to Judge in February 2013, Barney was commissioned to star in the three-part spin-off special Tamra's OC Wedding. It highlighted the preparations for their nuptials, and was broadcast from September 2, 2013 until September 16, 2013.