TV & Movies

The RHONY Reboot Needs A Reboot

Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid a total overhaul.

The RHONY Season 14 cast, which is new, didn't bring the drama of their legacy predecessors.

The dust has settled on The Real Housewives of New York City reboot, the first season of which wrapped Oct. 29, and the verdict is in: meh.

The original RHONY, on which it’s based, aired for 13 seasons between 2008 and 2021, establishing itself as a gem of the Housewives franchise due to its memorable and memeable moments. Recall “Scary Island,” Aviva’s leg throw, the boat ride from hell, and the annual “Berserkshires” trip to Bluestone Manor.

That series made stars of original cast members like Ramona Singer, Luann DeLesseps, Sonja Morgan, and Bethenny Frankel, who recently critiqued Bravo with a so-called “reality reckoning.”

But in 2021’s Season 13, everything changed for that crew. The show suffered its lowest-ever ratings and cast members faced allegations of racism following the introduction of RHONY’s first-ever Black housewife, Eboni K. Williams, leading to the cancelation of that year’s reunion.

What followed was the announcement that The Real Housewives of New York City would be split into two shows: a RHONY reboot with a brand new cast; and a “legacy” series with the original stars, which was later scrapped after salary negotiations reportedly collapsed.

RHONY OG's Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, Lu-Ann DeLesseps, Bethenny Frankel, and Alex McCord.Jay Sullivan / NBCU Photo Bank / NBC Universal via Getty Images

While many fans were initially thrilled about the new RHONY generation — Jenna Lyons, Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Lichy, Jessel Taank, and Brynn Whitfield — excitement wavered when the episodes started airing.

Over 16 episodes, the main sources of drama could be traced back to a restaurant reservation, a cheese platter, the temperature of Erin’s Hamptons vacation home, and the identity of Ubah’s unseen love interest — hardly compelling stuff when compared to the OG cast’s dramatic hijinks, which included marriages, cheating scandals, divorce, epic fallouts, and more.

RHONY reboot castmates Ubah Hassan, Brynn Whitfield, Jessel Taank, Erin Lichy, Jenna Lyons, and Sai De Silva.Bravo/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

The lackluster storylines likely contributed to the underwhelming ratings, and the contrast between the two shows was on full display at BravoCon 2023.

During the annual event, a chaotic trailer for the Ultimate Girls Trip: RHONY Legacy spin-off far outshone anything the new crew did; Brynn’s heels getting stuck in an escalator seemed to generate more viral buzz than any show updates, which were in short supply.

With that said, all isn’t lost with the reboot. Jessel, Erin, Sai, and Brynn have each shown potential, and with some changes, Bravo could make The Real Housewives of New York City great again.

1. Get Rid Of The Dead Weight

When a housewife signs on, producers and viewers have one non-negotiable expectation: She must pull back the curtain on her personal life.

But Ubah and Jenna (the supposed star of the show) actively hid their love lives from cameras for the entire season, which begs the question, What are they doing here?

A cast member who breaks this fundamental reality TV rule should, at the very least, be demoted to the lesser role of “friend-of” and replaced by someone who’s willing to participate in Housewives madness.

The Real Housewives of New York City stars Jenna Lyons and Ubah Hassan.Bravo/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

2. Hire Real Friends

The secret sauce of the original RHONY was the genuine history between most of the women. Ramona, Luann, Sonja, Dorinda Medley, and Jill Zarin had friendships — and falling-outs — dating back many years, and their on-screen chemistry gave the show real stakes.

The same can’t be said for the new cast, who were effectively strangers during the early weeks of filming.

Do all of the women have to have known each other pre-Housewives? No. But as the show moves forward, Bravo might consider bringing on the stars’ actual friends to add some much-needed depth.

RHONY Season 14 stars Jessel Taank, Erin Lichy, and Sai De Silva.Bravo/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

3. And, Please, Fold In The OGs

Although the reboot was intended as a fresh start, it’s time to admit defeat and accept that we need (some) of the OG ladies back in the Big Apple.

Luann and Sonja’s 2023 Bravo spin-off Welcome to Crappie Lake and Dorinda’s unhinged stint on Peacock’s The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip in 2022 were stark reminders of how entertaining our original New York ladies are, and some of them would fit in nicely with the current group.

Luann, Erin, Sonja, and Jessel sipping on martinis at Dorinda’s Bluestone Manor? I’d love to see it — and combining the originals and newbies could help this once-great show get back on track.

As far as I know, the powers that be at Bravo have yet to address this possibility, but stranger things have happened in the Housewives-verse.