Page Six reports that Bravo has officially fired Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, and Kelly Dodd, according to a rep for the network who spoke with the outlet. After what was inarguably the worst season ever for a Real Housewives franchise—who could really blame them?
After its premiere in October 2020, Season 15 of the maligned Real Housewives of Orange County was largely rebuked by viewers and critics. In the premiere episode alone, its cast members openly flaunted covid-19 restrictions, laughed off the pandemic as a joke, and made a series of confounding quips about its potential place of origin. (All debunked as conspiracies in the year that would follow.) It was also the first season without Vicki Gunvalson or Tamra Judge, who had been fired by the network the year prior after Gunvalson expressed revulsion towards lesbian women at the reunion, and viewers grew tired of Judge’s theatrics. This new shakeup would mean that for two consecutive seasons, Bravo has fired almost a third of its cast on the first-ever Real Housewives franchise. Dodd had been routinely criticized for her blatantly false accusations about the pandemic, at one point saying it was god’s way of “thinning the herd.” Windham-Burke, despite being the first openly gay Real Housewife, was also criticized for her behavior onscreen, including an admission she had assaulted her husband at the reunion.
The future doesn’t look bright.
Page Six also reports that alongside the exits, the network will bring back iconic villain Heather Dubrow, alongside returning cast members Shannon Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter, and Emily Simpson, as well as two new women. One is described as an “unknown wealthy Black woman.” Considering how well such casting decisions have gone on other franchises—Real Housewives of New York and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, respectively—I’m not sure if the casting bodes well for our new mystery housewife.