On last Tuesday's episode of The Wendy Williams Show, entertainment journalist Devyn Simone delivered news about The Real Housewives of Dallas in the show's segment called Reality Rewind.
Before Simone could get to the gossip, Williams asked her audience to clap if they watched RHOD. The audience was silent.
"Dallas Housewives is a slow start, a slow start, but I encourage you to check it out," Simone says on the show.
Simone goes on to talk about RHOD's midseason trailer in which LeeAnne Locken is accused of racism. After the clip, Simone asked Williams if she believes it's racism. Williams says she doesn't care and then asks the audience if they've been swayed to watch the show after Simone's tease. A few people clap.
After four seasons, why isn't RHOD catching up to the other Housewives cities in the franchise? For its season 4 premiere, RHOD raked in 678,000 viewers, which is about on par with its other season premieres. The only time an episode premiered with more than 1 million viewers was the series premiere. Seasons 1 and 2 typically had 800,000 or so viewers each episode. Season 3 had an average of 670,000 viewers per episode.
This viewership has stayed steady throughout the season. Its highest-rated episode was episode 8, "Guess Who's Coming To Happy Hour" with 770,000 viewers tuning in. Season 4 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered in 2011 and its season 4 first episode had 1.87 million people tuning in. Atlanta wrapped its 11th season in May, and it averaged 1.88 million viewers that season.
Danny Pellegrino, host of the podcast Everything Iconic, which often recaps Bravo shows, including RHOD, says season 2 and 3 of RHOD was "fantastic TV," but the show has struggled to maintain that.
"This season is centered around LeeAnne [Locken]’s wedding, but we’ve seen all the wedding stuff before on so many other shows," Pellegrino writes via email. "Weddings on Bravo used to be fun, but we’ve seen them so many times that we know what to expect. Watching becomes frustrating because we know we’re going to have the 'bachelorette' episode and then the 'trying on the dress,' etc. The unpredictability we used to expect from Dallas isn’t there. And we’ve spent so much time with the women, that their dynamics with each other and individual story lines aren’t quite as exciting as they once were."
Even the hosts of the podcast The Morning Toast, which also recaps Bravo shows, said Wednesday's episode of RHOD was boring.
"By the way, one of the worst episodes of The Real Housewives of Dallas I've ever had to sit through," host Claudia Oshry says. "I found it to be painful."
The episode didn't have a lot of drama. It focused on Locken getting ready for her wedding; Kary Brittingham deciding if she was going to the wedding; and D'Andra Simmons going to lunch with her mother to talk about her failing business.
One of my Facebook friends posted asking if anyone watched. The comments were enlightening.
"No. Pure trash," one woman wrote.
"And people wonder why so many others think so poorly of Dallasites," another man wrote.
Dallas locals don't seem to love the show — something Housewife Kameron Westcott has admitted.
"(The show) is very frowned upon in Dallas," Westcott said on an episode of The Morning Toast. "We are not supported. Very frowned upon. My girlfriends who are very into Dallas society, I mean I have to be honest, they're very well-connected. I mean sometimes to get them to even film with me, they have to have like five lawyers look at our contract. It's like a lunch scene, but like they're paranoid. I don't think they understand yeah, lots of things could happen, but like you're not going to do that.
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"It's hard to find places to film. A lot of restaurants that I go to on a daily basis are like, 'Our customers here don't want to be on camera, so we can't film.'"
So without much of Dallas' support, the show has to find an audience outside the city.
Pellegrino says he still loves the show, especially Housewife Stephanie Hollman, whom he calls "one of the most genuine Housewives" in its history, and Simmons' relationship with her mother, which he calls "compelling." But without any "water cooler moments" to talk about with her co-workers the next day, the show is struggling.
Pellegrino is hopeful, however, that the show will pick up soon when Locken is accused of being racist — something people will want to talk about at the water cooler.