How Did ‘The Real Housewives of DC’ Make History?

The Real Housewives of DC is the only Bravo Housewives franchise to have only one season. The single-season status makes RHODC a history-making series, but it also made waves when Michaele Salahi and husband Tareq famously crashed a White House dinner.

Cast members Lynda Erkiletian, Mary Schmidt Amons, Catherine Ommanney and Stacie Scott Turner at the premiere of 'The Real Housewives Of D.C.'
Cast members Lynda Erkiletian, Mary Schmidt Amons, Catherine Ommanney and Stacie Scott Turner at the premiere of ‘The Real Housewives Of D.C.’| Paul Morigi / Contributor

The Washington Post recounts the series, which seemed to bubble beneath the surface. Not as explosive as its sister series like The Real Housewives of New Jersey, RHODC’s political backdrop made the series “less noisy,” according to executive producer Andy Cohen.

Cohen shared with The TV Column that at the time, the series was more low-key due to the environment. “It’s serious, it’s politics,” he said. “The level of discourse on this show is different. For people who expect to see table flipping or wig pulling, that was never going to happen on this show.”

The season had at least one explosive event

Cast member Cat Ommanney thought the series would be renewed for another season. The first season finale “has made people think there won’t be one, but I’m quite confident that there will be a second season,” she remarked at the time.

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Cohen shared that it was a wrap. “We had an amazing season and we told stories that were unique to any other in the franchise. I wish all our DC Wives the best and hope to work with them again in another capacity,” Cohen said. Adding, “In fact, Cat is booked on our April 28th ‘Watch What Happens Live Royal Wedding Spectacular’.”

Even though the series was not as crazy as the rest, it ended with one a huge scandal, even for Washington DC. Michaele and Tareq Salahi became the infamous White House State Dinner crashers. The couple acted like they were invited. They even searched for their invitation on camera. But they never had an invitation. They managed to subvert a number of security checkpoints and attend the dinner unnoticed.

Is this why ‘RHODC’ didn’t make it?

The White House scandal alone would be one good reason to keep the show on television. Season 1 averaged about 1.4 million viewers, and had a significant amount of buzz, The Washington Post reports.

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With the scandal and the respectable ratings, why didn’t the show continue? The Post wonders if it was due to the birth of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “With Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Bravo headed back to familiar territory: blond, booby, overstated plastic surgery, major house porn. ‘Bev Hills’ was over-the-top and utterly super-superficial,” according to The Post.

RHOBH ratings were higher too at about 1.5 million when the show debuted. The first season reached 3 million by the season finale. 10 years later, RHOBH continues to hold high ratings, even after the departure of main cast member, Lisa Vanderpump. Only six episodes into season 10 and ratings are holding steady. “S10E06 – 1.594 million viewers (0.53 18-49 demo),” Bravo Ratings tweeted.

Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live virtual episode also hit its highest ratings. He hosted two RHOBH cast members.