Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Original Housewives of Orange County Get Real on the First Season, 10 Years Later
Ten years ago, on March 21, 2006, The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered, and forever changed reality TV. The first series of Bravo’s hit Real Housewives franchise, RHOC is currently in production for an 11th season, which is set to begin airing this summer. When the pilot debuted a decade ago, it kicked off one of the biggest reality TV phenomena in the format’s brief history — not that anybody knew it at the time.

“I did not think it would make it to television,” original cast member Lauri Peterson tells EW. “I thought, ‘Okay, they’ll shoot a few scenes and try to put it together, and just like a million other people that attempted a reality show, it won’t fly and that will be it.’”

She wasn’t alone in that lack of foresight. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the premiere of RHOC — and by extension, the 10th anniversary of the birth of the entire Real Housewives empire — EW caught up with Peterson and her season 1 castmates Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, and Jeana Keough, none of whom ever dreamed that the show would reach its current degree of popularity.

”I really never thought it was going to amount to anything,” admits Gunvalson, the only original Housewife who is still a member of the current cast. “Reality wasn’t a thing back then,” De La Rosa adds. “It was a very foreign concept to me.” Keough echoes her sentiment, “I don’t think I even knew what a reality show was.”

The first season’s opening credits begin with the foreword, “Seven million families live in gated communities.” The five wives of RHOC’s first season — Peterson, De La Rosa, Gunvalson, Keough, and Kimberly Bryant — all lived in the exclusive gated community Coto De Caza in Orange County, California, and the Desperate Housewives-inspired series sought to examine their lavish lifestyle “behind the gates.”

“The homeowner’s association had big meetings at the club, trying to decide if there was any way they could stop us from filming,” Keough recalls. “They tried to see if they could fight it, and the lawyers would say, ‘No, look, it’s not even a big production.’ Back then we had karaoke boxes and a little handheld movie camera; now, it’s a full-on four-camera shoot.”
Kimberly Bryant must've really gone into hiding for them not to even get a quote from her.

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