‘RHOBH’ Cast Thinks the Pandemic May Change the ‘Housewives’ Forever

Almost all of the footage from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was shot pre-pandemic. But some confessionals are being delivered remotely.

Reunions, like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, are being produced remotely. Plus Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen is bring brought to viewers nightly from home. Like many networks, Bravo has pivoted to accommodate programming in a pandemic world. And while quarantine may be temporary, experts warn hunkering down may become part of the world’s new normal.

Sutton Stracke, Garcelle Beauvais, Denise Richards
Sutton Stracke, Garcelle Beauvais, Denise Richards |Kathy Boos/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

So what will that look like for the millions of productions that either went on pause or postponed production? A few cast members from RHOBH weighed in, skeptical that the enduring franchise will look the same in the future.

Kyle Richards took the virus seriously months ago

Kyle Richards, who has shared that she has anxiety on the show, told the Los Angeles Times that she was concerned about the coronavirus months ago. “As soon as I started hearing about this coronavirus, I got really nervous,” she said.

“I went online and bought all my family masks, which now, we save those for the healthcare workers, but at the time nobody was doing that. I could buy one and so I started flying with a mask and making my husband and my daughter fly with masks. And they were like, ‘You’re so ridiculous.’ And I’m like, ‘Sorry, but I’m telling you, I know you think I’m crazy, but we’re not flying without masks.’”

Since then, Richards has donated masks to healthcare professionals and those on the frontlines. “We started seeing how the healthcare workers didn’t even have the proper masks. They were wearing trash bags in that photo that everybody saw. It was heartbreaking. My partner, Shahida [Parides], from my clothing line, Kyle X Shahida — she was able to help me get 8,000 N95 masks, so I was able to purchase those. And then Andy Cohen was able to help me get in touch with Gov. Cuomo’s office in New York. My husband and I donated to the New York hospitals, and then I had a lot of masks here for the L.A. hospitals, so I reached out to [my cast members].”

A world of ‘Housewives’ in a pandemic

Richards recalled the last shift in the series occurred during the Great Recession. “When we started the show a decade ago, we were just coming out of the recession of 2008,” she recalls.

“And I can remember … there was so much focus when you’re on a lifestyle show,” Richards continued. “Everybody was uncomfortable. I can remember they would always ask in the interviews: ‘How much was this? How much did you spend on that party?’ I was not raised talking like that. You’re asked these question in your interviews and you’re like, ‘I’m not talking about that; I don’t want to talk about that.’ Of course, as time goes on, things got back to normal in the world, but now I do think it’s gonna be different.”

“People are really going to be struggling and I know that people probably look at our show and think that, ‘Oh, you guys, you don’t know.’ And, obviously, everyone has different levels of it, but we have a lot of friends who have lost their jobs. And a lot of people that we know live month to month and they are really struggling and they’re really scared,” she added.

Erika (Jayne) Girardi wonders how the show will go on. “I wonder how we will make another show. How will we film next season? What does that look like? When will it happen? What will it be? Is it limited contact? I have no idea,” she admits. “Those things I’ve thought about; I’m sure the network has as well. Who knows what it ends up looking like? How are we going to have these interpersonal relationships, if in fact we need to keep 6 feet apart and we need to wear masks? How long does that last? There’s so many unanswered questions. I mean, not just for us about making a TV show, but for the whole world.”

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on Wednesday at 8/7c on Bravo.