I don't know what I would watch if the Real Housewives franchise didn't exist. At any given time, there is a Real Housewives of some city on Bravo and I cannot get enough. Whether there are new episodes or repeats of classics, the shows just always delivers for me. But who knew that when the first series, Real Housewives of Orange County, started it was going to turn into such an epic reality television staple? The success and expansion of Real Housewives was not initially expected or planed. Actually, there are probably a lot of things that you never knew about how Real Housewives got started.
It's crazy to think that a little show with eight episodes in its first season is now at Season 10 and that there are new series sprouting up in different cities around the country. (Real Housewives of Potomac and Real Housewives of Dallas are both coming soon.) The franchise is a juggernaut that can't be stopped, but nobody saw it coming. Sure, the network had faith in the show, but it was impossible to predict that it take off like this and gain such a significant place in pop culture. There are so many things that people, even the biggest super fans, don't know about the origin of the Real Housewives franchise.
1. It Was Inspired By Desperate Housewives
I actually have Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to thank for inspiring my beloved reality TV franchise. The scripted show was extremely popular at the time RHOC came out and gave way to the reality shows that we all know and love. Former RHOC star Gretchen Rossi told Hollywood.com, "It inspired the Real Housewives franchise — and honestly, I feel I owe a lot to Marc Cherry for creating a show that inspired a real life version of housewives." Right? I feel like Cherry should get a cut of the residual checks.
2. Behind The Gates Was The Original Title For The Series
Behind the Gates would have been a great title for the first season of RHOC since it was really focused on the gated community of Coto de Caza in Orange County, California, but it was a pretty limiting title for that series and the franchise as a whole. Using Real Housewives of Orange County gave way to the titles for other shows in different cities.
3. Vicki's Son Michael Is The One Who Answered A Casting Ad
Vicki Gunvalson's son Michael Wolfsmith was the one who found one of the initial casting ads and wanted to be a part of the show with his friends. In the Real Housewives of Orange County: 100th Episode Special, Michael revealed that he was surprised when the casting directors actually had more of an interest in his mom and her squad. But we have him to thank for getting the "OG of the OC" interested and on board with the show which is something I'm sure that all the fans are grateful for.
4. Slade Smiley Paid $2,500 In A Charity Auction To Be Cast
It's kind of crazy how Slade Smiley was such a polarizing staple on RHOC for so long. He actually paid for a spot on the show, which is also weird considering that it's called Real Housewives not Real Househusbands. In the Real Housewives of Orange County: 100th Episode Special, Slade said he paid $2,500 for the prize to be a part of an unnamed reality show at a charity auction and that's how his former girlfriend Jo de la Rosa was cast for RHOC.
5. The Series Was Created By Scott Donlop, Patrick Moses, & Kevin Kaufman
The trio of Scott Donlop, Patrick Moses, and Kevin Kaufman are responsible for bringing us RHOC and have actually been at odds over it ever since. In November 2014, former Bravo producers Moses and Kaufman sued Scott Dunlop and the network because they were supposed to split up their earnings evenly and that's not what ended up happening and now that this show is so huge, I can see why they would be angry.
6. The Women Were Encouraged To Keep It Real, Not Glamorous
In the 100th Episode Special, original Housewife Lauri Peterson mentioned that the cast was encouraged to just live normal lives and dress casually. This didn't last long with the girls stepping up their fashion game and going for the glitz in their everyday appearances and their event planning. The show shifted to emphasize a glamorous lifestyle.
7. Vicki Called Andy Cohen Numerous Times In Response To Internet Comments
In the beginning, Vicki really struggled with the anonymous and immediate feedback of the Internet. During the RHOC: 100th Episode Special, Andy Cohen said that she used to hit him up a lot to complain and shut down the negativity. But sadly, even Andy Cohen can't control the Internet.
Real Housewives has really blossomed to be such a staple in pop culture, let alone reality television. It's crazy to think that this all sprouted from such humble beginnings though.