‘Real Housewives of Miami’ returning to capture the ‘Atlanta’ magic

Bravo is making another attempt.

There’s no reality TV franchise out there quite like “The Real Housewives.” What started out as a series about women living in an Orange County neighborhood has now ultimately become multiple series, international editions, and a price tag of half a billion dollars. Other networks have tried to copy the trend by making programs about “basketball wives” or even women married to preaches (a show that is coming up on TLC), but none have reached the same level of pop-culture consciousness.

With every success story, though, there are a few blemishes — and “The Real Housewives of Miami” is one that Andy Cohen seems to believe that he can repair. When the show first debuted back in early 2011, it did so as a show that was originally supposed to be titled “Miami Social,” but was changed in post-production after Bravo decided that the show in its present form was not hit-worthy and they wanted to capitalize on the “Housewives” name at the last minute.

There was also another issue here — one of bad PR. While the “Beverly Hills” franchise had recently come out as a massive hit during its first season, “Miami” did start after the franchise’s biggest flop in “The Real Housewives of DC” (a show that is likely never going to receive a second chance thanks in part to the drama associated with Michaele Salahi). Then, many people were so upset about the delay of “New York City” to April last year that they couldn’t quite get excited about some new faces in Miami.

So what is the show actually doing to save this ratings disappointment? The Hollywood Reporter claims that there are a number of changes in store — and we have also heard whispers of a few other twists.

New faces – Don’t expect some of the NBA wives of season 1 to stick around — in order to differentiate from the VH1 franchise, Larsa Pippen and Cristy Rice are not expected back as primary cast members. The show will be infused with some different women who better show the diversity and culture of some of the wealthy members of Florida’s trendiest city.

A new production company – Considering that “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” frequent the city, it only seems fitting that Purveyors of Pop — the same production company who helps to create this version of the show along with the New York and New Jersey installments– have been brought on to run the show this season. In other words, they have plenty of experience.

A renewed focus – This time, there’s no question what this series is supposed to be, and there is a blueprint that seems well-established when it comes to how these shows are successful. The women throw parties, bicker, and eventually travel to an exotic location at some point in the show to patch things up (and occasionally make fun of each other’s fashion). They also have plenty ¬†of opportunities to promote thanks to Cohen and a brilliant marketing team — who book appearances on “Watch What Happens Live!” for the ladies in between giving them opportunities to blog on the site.

Overall, it makes perfect sense for “Miami” to continue, as both “Atlanta” and “Beverly Hills” are in the midst of their highest-rated seasons yet — and neither of them show any sign of slowing down. Since not everyone loves some of the other series (both “Orange County” and “New York City” fail to match the fanfare of “New Jersey” by and large), this gives yet another “Housewives” alternative until “Beverly Hills” and “Atlanta” comes back in the fall. When the ratings are this good for the other series, you can never have too many options.

At this point in time, it’s still to be seen whether or not Bravo is really making the right move in giving “Miami” another shot — but with the success of the franchise and the hope of a better foundation, the risk is too low to ignore.

Do you think “Miami” is a show that really deserves a second chance?

Photo: Bravo

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