I have always had a soft spot for the ladies of the Real Housewives of New York. For eleven seasons, these ladies, despite several cast shakeups, always delivered. From the drama to the humor, they have consistently brought a type of chaos that only they are capable of pulling off. But since season 12 debuted earlier this year, their streak has come to an end. I hate to admit it, but RHONY is not what it once was.
After Bethenny Frankel announced her departure from the series for a second time following Season 11, fans knew the show would be going in a different direction. The vibe would change. And sure enough, it has. And it seems that the fans who vowed not to watch Season 12 sans Bethenny have followed through on that promise.
As realhousewivesfranchise first reported on Instagram, RHONY has had its lowest-rated episode since season 7 this past week. Viewership was down to 0.88 million, down from 1.18 million the previous episode. While this does not come as a shock to me, it does show that the series is in trouble. Keep in mind that Below Deck Mediterranean, which is in its 5th season, had just under 1.6 million viewers this week. Yikes!
As much as I have always favored this franchise over the other cities, I can see why viewership has dropped. For starters, after a short hiatus, the show returned with yet another Halloween episode. I can only take so much of these ladies dressed up as drunken voodoo skeletons. But the most obvious reason of all is that something with the cast just isn’t working.
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This season, largely in part, has felt like a group of rich, Upper East Side teenagers let out into the chaos with no chaperone. Without Bethenny as the voice of reason, as the narrator, as the glue that holds the group together, these ladies just aren’t meshing. And it’s not that the show can’t work without Bethenny. It can. Season 6, without Bethenny, was still a fun, interesting season with real storylines. Season 12? Not so much.
While newbie Leah McSweeney has held nothing back during her first season, it seems she’s having a hard time connecting with Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan. And as much as I feel for Ramona’s “friend” Elyse Slaine, fans across the board agree that she isn’t meshing well with the group either.
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Fans of the show are also calling Dorinda Medley out for her brash behavior this season, which Tinsley Mortimer mainly took the brunt of. As for Tinsley herself, if her mid-season “peace out” was any indication of the future of this show, it’s not looking good. However, lucky for us, Luann de Lesseps is still Luann, and life is still a cabaret.
Like many RHONY fans, I just want the band back together. I’m nostalgic for the good old days. I need more turtle time and “mention it all” moments. I believe that those moments can happen even if Bethenny doesn’t come back, but we just need the right group of ladies to create that reality TV magic.
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[Photo Credit: Bravo]