The Real Housewives of Orange County is an American reality television series on Bravo that debuted on March 21, 2006, and is set in Orange County, California. It is the first Real Housewives program in the franchise. The series is a voyeurisitic look into the wealthy lives of these housewives as they shop, get plastic surgery, fight and live lavishly. The financial crisis, the beginning of which coincided almost exactly with the first season's broadcast, at one time trimmed the housewives' lifestyles with job losses, evictions, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, and marital stress—all recorded in progressive seasons of the show. Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Beador, Meghan King, and Kelly Dodd make up the series' most recent cast.
The series emerged as The Real Housewives on April 26, 2005, when Bravo announced their programming slate for the 2005–2006 season. It would later be announced with the current title, The Real Housewives of Orange County, on January 5, 2006, with Kimberly Bryant, Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough and Lauri Waring as the five original housewives. Created by Orange County producer and Coto de Caza ("Coto") resident Scott Dunlop, the series was initially set primarily in the gated community of Coto, following the lavish livestyles of five "housewives" and their families who resided within Coto McMansions, with the exception of one housewife (Lauri Waring), who lived in a Ladera Ranch townhouse.
Kimberly Bryant was replaced by Tammy Knickerbocker in the second season. Bravo announced on March 28, 2007, that casting was taking place for the third season. The third season premiere date was released on October 9, 2007, with Tamra Barney introduced into the cast. Quinn Fry also joined the season during the sixth episode of the third season. Barney and Fry were discovered by producers during the casting call. With the introduction of Barney, Fry and Waring's move to San Juan Capistrano, the scope of the show widened its narrow focus that used to emphasize the privilege and exclusivity of living in gated Coto de Caza to purport the general luxury and materialism of living in the Orange County environment.
Bravo announced the series' fourth season renewal with the return of three original housewives, Gunvalson, Keough, Peterson (Waring, after her marriage to George Peterson at the end of Season 3), and Season 3 housewife Barney. A new housewife, Gretchen Rossi, replaces Season 2 housewife Knickerbocker and Season 3 housewife Fry, both of whom did not return. To compensate for the mid-season departure of Peterson, another new housewife, Lynne Curtin, joined the cast.
In June 2009, Bravo announced the renewal of the show for a fifth season with the entire season four cast returning. During this season a sixth housewife, Newport Beach resident Alexis Bellino was added to the cast to replace Keough, who departed mid-season, leaving Gunvalson as the only remaining original cast member. The series was renewed for a sixth season, with new housewife Peggy Tanous replacing Lynne Curtin. It was also announced that Fernanda Rocha, a personal trainer who co-owns the Art of Fitness & Day Spa, had signed on to appear on several episodes during season six. On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, The Real Housewives of Orange County was renewed for the seventh season with new housewife Heather Dubrow.
Alexis Bellino announced on September 24, 2012 that she wouldn't be returning to the show for its eighth season in order to 'focus on family and other opportunities'. However, in October 2012, Alexis was spotted filming scenes for the show and is still a main cast member. Production for season eight started in Fall 2012. All housewives of season seven returned along with new housewife Lydia McLaughlin. On November 19, 2012, Vicki Gunvalson posted a picture on her official Facebook page of the ladies getting ready for a bachelorette weekend for Tamra Barney which was being filmed for season eight. Included in the picture were Gunvalson, Barney, Rossi, Dubrow, and new Housewife, Mclaughlin. Noticeably absent from the picture was Alexis Bellino, who was not invited on the vacation. Lauri Peterson has returned in a recurring role. The Real Housewives of Orange County returned April 1, 2013.
Bravo celebrated the series' 100th episode milestone by airing a two hour special that depicted The Real Housewives phenomenon and how the series impacted the lives of the housewives and their families who have been on the show. Bravo also aired the first 100 episodes starting ten days before the June 24, 2013, air date of the special.
|Jo De LaRosa||Main||Guest|
|Season||Episodes||Season Premiere||Season Finale||Reunion|
|1||8||March 21, 2006||May 2, 2006||May 9, 2006|
|2||10||January 16, 2007||March 13, 2007||March 20, 2007|
|3||12||November 6, 2007||January 22, 2008||January 29, 2008|
|4||15||November 25, 2008||February 17, 2009||February 24, 2009|
|5||17||November 5, 2009||March 5, 2010||March 10, 2010|
March 11, 2010
|6||16||March 6, 2011||June 5, 2011||June 12, 2011|
June 13, 2011
|7||23||February 7, 2012||June 26, 2012||July 10, 2012|
July 16, 2012
|8||22||April 1, 2013||August 5, 2013||August 12, 2013|
August 19, 2013
August 26, 2013
|9||21||April 14, 2014||August 18, 2014||August 25, 2014|
September 1, 2014
|10||24||June 8 2015||November 12 2015|
|11||21||June 20 2016||November 21 2016|
|12||TBA||July 10 2017||TBA|
- Despite being the longest-running Real Housewives installment, this series has never seen a housewife return to a fulltime position after having left.