TV & Movies

RHOC Could Get Another Cast Shakeup For Season 17

Will Tamra be the next Housewife to make a comeback?

'The Real Housewives of Orange County' Season 16 cast members Jen Armstrong, Emily Simpson, Shannon ...
Tommy Garcia/Bravo

In order to give Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County a “reboot” for Season 16, executive producer Andy Cohen recruited Fancy Pants herself, Heather Dubrow, to make a comeback. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly ahead of her return, Heather explained that Andy told her the network wanted to “bring back some glory of previous seasons” and take RHOC “in a different direction,” following the exits of Kelly Dodd, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and Elizabeth Lyn Vargas. “And when they explained to me the direction of the show and what kind of cast they were looking for, I felt comfortable that that would be a situation that I would be happy in,” she added.

Looking ahead to RHOC Season 17, however, Bravo might experiment with another cast shakeup, in light of declining ratings. After the April 13 finale brought in the season’s lowest viewership to date, Bravo announced the reunion would air in only two parts. In comparison, recent RHOA, RHOBH, and RHOP reunions featured four parts, though they did have Erika Jayne’s legal drama and a Nicki Minaj guest-hosting gig, among other things, to include.

After Kelly called out the show’s ratings in a December tweet, asking Andy how “that reboot” was going, her former boss replied, “Reboot going great. Feels like a return to form for #RHOC. Look at the delayed numbers, not live. That’s what’s measured.”

Though it’s unclear if his opinion since changed, Kelly — who refers to herself as a “Former Real Housewife of Orange County REJECT” in her Twitter bio — continued to take shots at the show and her former castmates all season, including in real-time while Heather was on Watch What Happens Live in December. As such, she likely won’t be returning to a yet-to-be-announced Season 17, but here’s everything to know in the meantime.

The RHOC Season 17 Cast

Only three women — Emily Simpson, Shannon Storms Beador, and Gina Kirschenheiter — returned for Season 16, which also introduced new cast members Heather, Dr. Jen Armstrong, and Noella Bergener to fill the vacancies left by Kelly, Braunwyn, and Elizabeth. However, Bravo doesn’t typically confirm casting until about a month before a new season premieres, so it’s unclear which of the women will be back for Season 17.

Another RHOC alum has been hinting at a possible return: Tamra Judge, who already filmed Peacock’s upcoming The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Season 2. During a February WWHL episode, after Andy predicted that she would come back to RHOC, if asked, she joked that husband Eddie Judge would have to make the final decision. Then, she added, with a coy shrug, “I am so thankful for everything you’ve ever given me, so...”

Other possibilities could include some second-generation cast members. During an April 11 WWHL after-show, RHOC alum Lauri Peterson’s daughter Ashley Zarlin also revealed that she and Kara Keough are ready to follow in their moms’ footsteps and become the first legacy Housewives. “We started it all, it’s so crazy to see how big it’s gotten,” she said of Bravo’s first Real Housewives franchise, telling Andy that she’s “still waiting for the opportunity” to hold her own orange.

The RHOC Season 17 Premiere Date

Though any sort of potential retooling would likely cause a delay (see: RHONY’s current hiatus), most Housewives franchises typically return in less than a year. Depending on when RHOC begins production, filming typically lasts about three months before the editing process starts. RHOC Season 16, for example, began filming in July 2021 before premiering in December. If the next installment follows the same schedule, viewers could expect a new season as early as late this year, though early 2023 seems to be a safer bet.

This post will be updated as more details about RHOC Season 17 become available.