Atlanta’s Diversity Keeps This ‘Housewives’ Series Real

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been around for nearly a decade, but anyone looking for signs of fatigue should look elsewhere. The show, which was the third installment (out of nine) in this staple of the Bravo lineup, averages more than 2 million viewers in the 25-54 demographic and more than 3.3 million total viewers. Thanks to its strength, Bravo is the top-ranked overall cable network on Sundays at 8 p.m. among all key demos year-to-date, per Bravo, citing Nielsen.

“All the franchises in the series are different but they all have an interesting mix of personalities and each embrace the city they are in,” Bravo executive VP of current production Shari Levine said. “People tune in to see what choices the women are making, we get to see their smart choices and their not-so-smart choices. You see bankruptcies, marriages, births so much of what life offers. It’s like a real life soap opera.”

The women of Atlanta are “really compelling, they are funny and shady, and I say that with a huge smile,” Levine said, adding that Atlanta is a major cultural center for African-Americans and the women of the show “are representatives of the city.”

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Bravo is very involved in each of the productions, Levine said. “We are a creative partner on all our series,” she said. “We know what’s happening on our shoots and are aware of the storylines, and we’re looking at cuts and aware of storytelling.”

That’s one reason why she loves working with Truly Original, which produces The Real Housewives of Atlanta as well as the relative newcomer The Real Housewives of Potomac, which debuted two years ago.

“Truly Original is really amazing as a production company,” she said.

Co-CEO Steven Weinstock, who oversees these shows for Truly Original, “is very involved and very much focused on the quality of the shows,” Levine continued. “Some owners at other companies are all about selling and what’s in the pipeline and are more about the monetary side than relationships, but Steven is down there in the nitty-gritty and even knows the cast. If there’s any kind of problem we can go directly to him, which is an amazing thing as a network to have in a partner.”