Real Housewives – A Retrospective Look at the Winners and Some Misfires

Real Housewives – A Retrospective Look at the Winners and Some Misfires by Veena

It is Thanksgiving weekend, and NeNe Leakes has debuted to a full house on Broadway.  It has given me pause for thought about how the housewives franchise had affected the lives of the various cast members.  With everything, there are some winner, some misfires, and some in between.


NeNe Leakes

NeNe Instagramed: “My name is in lights on Broadway! What a dream come true. Everything I have been thru has brought me to this moment. Thanks to all of you who has supported me! This little black girl from Athens Ga, This teen girl who entered Morris Brown College, yea that 22 year old stripper, yup that single mom and yes she just added Broadway actress to her resume! DREAMS DO COME TRUE”  

I don’t think there is any question that NeNe worked her time on Housewives to full advantage to brand herself.  She’s got talent, hustle, and personality, and she’s rich b$tch.  She’s not only left her fellow Atlanta housewives in the dust, she’s left all the housewives in the dust.  And she’s extremely humble.  The last sentence was a joke.

Bethenny Frankel

The only other housewives with near to NeNe’s success is Bethenny Frankel.  Bethenny was the first housewife to earn a successful spin-off, and the only one to go from rags to riches as a businesswoman with her Skinnygirl brand.  She even earned a network talk show, and even though it didn’t capture ratings high enough to make it past one season, she fared no worse than Queen Latifa, Jeff Probst or Anderson Cooper. She’s taking a risk returning to RHONY.  A big risk.  If the ratings don’t rebound to decent levels, Jill Zarin will have the last laugh.  Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting.

Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen is one of only two people that has gone from production to being in front of the camera (the other being Todd Tucker, Kandi’s husband).  Andy has become the face of the housewives, hosting all the reunions and Watch What Happens Live.  In the last year Andy traded in his steady job as an executive at Bravo to concentrate on his production company.  One of his first major coups was getting Bethenny back on to Real Housewives of New York.  Again, it’s a huge risk.  If it doesn’t bring the ratings, Andy will be blamed.  After all, Andy cast his good friend Carole Radziwill on the show, and that didn’t help at all with the ratings.

lisa and andy

Lisa Vanderpump

Lisa was the first housewife to launch a successful spin-off that wasn’t solely about her own life – and Vanderpump Rules is the first Bravo show to bring in the coveted youth demographic.  While many of us housewives watchers flinch at the vapid lifestyles of Lisa’s waitstaff and bartenders – the show is a success for Bravo.  Aside from Sur, Lisa has also managed to brand Villa Blanca and Pump, and the restaurants are sure to be LA icons similar to Cheers in Boston for years to come.

Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss may not have relaunched her music career with housewives, but she seems to be consistent at least with her businesses.  Her store TAGS is still in business, as is her sex-toy line Bedroom Kandi, and she is having success with her talk show Kandi Koated Nights.  Kandi is also one of only two housewives to find love and marriage as a direct result of being on the show.

Kim Zolciak

Kim Zolciak appeared on our TV screens as an unapologetic mistress of “Big Poppa.”  After a few seasons of “close your legs to married men,” being screamed in her ear, Kim turned it around when she met now husband Kroy Biermann while attending a local dancing with the stars contest to support fellow housewife Sheree Whitfield.  Four babies and a successful spin-off later, Kim had found her own version of success.


Businesses and Branding

Almost all the ladies joining housewives do so with the thought of branding their businesses.  Andy Cohen openly makes fun of them in his book.  Perhaps branding has worked for some of them with an actual business, like Heather Thomson with her Yummie Tummie, but even Heather couldn’t help Sonja Morgan launch that toaster oven of hers.  But Sonja wasn’t alone, who can possibly forget the misfires such as:

  • She by Sheree
  • Lisa Wu’s Closet Freak
  • Alexis Bellinos clothing line – remember when she cut off the sleeve of that dress!
  • Brandi Glanville’s clothing line – she made the Oscar’s worst dressed list in her own dress!
  • Anything by Gretchen Christine Rossi (slap her name on it and call it her own)
  • Maloof Hoof

Then there were the various booze lines: Ramona’s Pinot that branded her as a lush, Teresa’s Fabellini that is sitting in a huge vat somewhere, and a whole bunch of housewife branded vodka.  Sorry ladies, but Bethenny cornered the alcohol market.

The Children

This week it was announced that Gigi Hadid made the Top 50 model list for young up and coming (non-supermodel) models.  Gigi joined other fellow famous daughters Kendall Jenner and Georgia Jagger, and while she acknowledges the exposure her mom gave her through housewives may have helped a little, Gigi credits her strong work ethic and networking for her success.  Whatever the magic ingredients, Gigi is the only daughter of a housewife to become arguably more famous than their mother.

Not that other mom’s haven’t tried to use the show to launch their child’s career.  Teresa Giudice and Danielle Staub have both had their daughters perform on the show.

A few other children get honorable mention.  The Manzo boys – Albie and Christopher have used the show (and their spin  off) to brand BLK water, and Pandora Todd and her husband Jason have a LVP Sangria in major stores.


Kandi Burruss may be the only bonafide singer in the bunch, but that hasn’t stopped other ladies from trying to have a hit single.  Most memorable is Kim Zolciak’s Tardy for the Party – which ended (for a time) her friendship with NeNe Leakes (when Leakes was not invited to sing along with Kim) and her friendship with Kandi (probably permanently).  Kim’s song was memorable in that it was so bad it was good.  Other housewives/husbands that have tried to warble out a song include:

  • Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (who can forget Ramona refusing to be in the video because it was inappropriate – but dang the Countess sang a catchy tune!)
  • Simon Van Kempen (who can forget his performance on WWHL in those red pants)
  • Kenya Moore (twirl, twirl, twirl)
  • Melissa Gorga (Melissa should have gone to ATL to work with Kandi instead of building a studio in her basement)
  • Ms Laurence (actually Laurence can sing, but he and Kandi failed to reach a distribution agreement, so his song was never really released.)
  • Gretchen Christine Rossi (her live performance in Vegas was terrifying)
  • Jo de la Rosa
  • Danielle Staub (and her pretend-girlfriend showcase a song on WWHL)

The Books

There have been some hits:

  • Brandi Glanville used her inappropriate tweeting habits to pen a few best sellers.  Of course having some inside gossip about her ex-husband didn’t hurt.
  • Andy Cohen is currently on the NY Times best seller list
  • Teresa Giudice and Bethenny Frankel penned some very successful cook books.

And there have been a lot of other books that weren’t hits.  Most notably, Carole Radziwill’s much touted novel didn’t make the NY Times Best Seller list, which was a little bit of a surprise given how much branding it got on the show.

The Uh-Ohs

Any housewife or househusband with skeletons in their closet should give the show a pass.

  • Russell Armstrong committed suicide while BH was in its second season of filming as Taylor Armstrong’s claims of abuse and his legal battles over business practices came to the forefront.
  • Apollo Nida was likely headed back to Federal Prison with or without housewives – but being on the show and trying to keep up with an affluent lifestyle didn’t help.
  • Teresa and Joe Giudice committed fraud prior to joining the housewives, but it’s hard to say whether or not they’d be headed to jail right now if they weren’t on the show.
  • There are others, but I’ll wait until their cases play out before writing about them.

The Eggs in the Housewife Basket

I’m sure there are many housewives or housewife couples that hoped that participating in the Housewife Platform would lead them to financial security even if it meant baring open their lives.  Unfortunately, for most of them that just wasn’t the case.  The salaries for the first few years are pretty dismal – and the expenses to keep up appearances high.  Who can forget Gregg Leakes complaining to a radio station about bank rolling NeNe.

Andy Cohen says plainly in his book that any househusband that left a job to support his wife’s career on the housewives was looking for trouble.  The truth is you should always have a back up plan, because there is no guarantee you’ll be signed for the next season – or even make it through a season without being demoted to friend status.

A typical case is Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen.  Alex and Simon both worked for a living when they joined the Housewives.  Alex lost her job in the recession, and Simon a little while later – some say because of Jill Zarin calling his employer.  Alex left the show before she had a chance to announce (or brand) their new business venture.  It was a tough time to lose their housewives income, and tougher yet to get another steady job.  Dishing on housewife gossip and bravo ratings didn’t pay the bills.  They’ve announced that they’re leaving NY and heading down under to Australia where job opportunities await.


About Veena (NMD)

Just a housewife ... who loves this place .... and loves to write ... You can reach me through this email: Lynn's Place is in tribute to Housewives blogger Lynn Hudson, who passed away in August of 2012.
This entry was posted in Real Housewives of Atlanta, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Real Housewives of New Jersey, Real Housewives of New York and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

104 Responses to Real Housewives – A Retrospective Look at the Winners and Some Misfires

  1. plainviewsue says:

    Fabulous write up!!!

  2. Jenn Loves Andy says:

    I just wanted to post a hello to everyone. I really have enjoyed this blog for the last few years. I have been reading since the beginning and all of the comments for the most part. I feel like you all are friends I have never talked to! Anyway, I love the new style that is more like Lynn wrote with commentary and gossip rather than just recaps. Thanks for all your hard work to provide great entertainment and a forum for conversation and support to each other!!

  3. TexasTart says:

    Wow, what a smorgasbord of all things HW! Thanks, Veena! 👏

    I am having to work over the holidays….gotta make hay while the sun shines 🌞 and speaking of such, amazing weather here in Central Texas…extra windy today though. I think all the leaves will come down in one day! Hope you folks are having a good day! 😀

  4. Disgrazia4 says:

    Very nice write up Veena! Good on you!! ❤

  5. Powell says:

    Good afternoon everyone. I hope you’re having a great weekend. Did you go Black Friday shopping? 😊

    • TexasTart says:

      Not in person, but did some online and I didn’t make out…guess I’m not buying anything that the “deals” are for! :-/ Got some discounts, but not impressive. Did much better 2 weeks ago in stores where a lot was 50% off.

  6. HuskerHuny says:

    Yes siree baby – it’s 62 degrees here today! Love it!

  7. Powell says:

    👏👏👏👏🙋🙋👏👏👏👏 NMD!! Very good. I’m looking forward to your next blog when other HWs/HHs legal woes play out in court. 😀

  8. Orson says:

    I guess it’s a bit cruel to start a countdown and saying things like only 37 days to go, huh? >:)

    • TexasTart says:

      You’ll have to clue me in on the countdown for Jan 6th?! Oh! That must be Tre’s check in. You can keep the countdown for us, I hate to think those girls without their Mom for a year…or whatever it will net out with good behavior. I don’t think she will flip any tables there.

      • Orson says:

        The tables may be bolted to the floor. I figure there’s what’s left of today, tomorrow, 31 days in Dec, and 4 days of January before she has to check in. Actually, in the service, we’d call that 37 and a wakeup.

  9. Orson says:

    RO has reported that Tre blames the other housewives for Gia’s crowd funding attempt to raise $7,500.00 for a new video has stalled at around $900.00.

    • T-Rex says:

      Yeah, it’s not due to an issue of these little girls not having all that much talent, are absolutely nothing new or exciting, and there are already thousands of “stage parents” trying to get their kids fame and fortune on YouTube and CrowdDFunding. I am NOT saying Gia doesn’t have a future maybe in television, music or film, but she is certainly not ready yet, just because she acts on the Ho-wives and for some ungodly reason has a twatter account(this still boggles my mind why any REAL parent would allow this, it’s nuts), and her parents paid out 15K for a music video.

  10. TexasTart says:

    Bella has a more sophisticated look….compared to Gigi…I wonder if Anwar will model?! #trifecta

  11. TexasTart says:


  12. TexasTart says:

  13. TexasTart says:

    I hope they are pals like Lainey and LaineyGirl, otherwise I would be inclined to think Ramona would smother her!

    • Orson says:

      When Avery was appearing on RHNY, she was constantly embarrassed by Ramona. I can’t imagine Ramona changing. Although now that A is going to school a couple states away, maybe putting up with R over breaks is less tiresome.

  14. TexasTart says:

  15. Crap. I am getting sucked into VanderPumpRules. I tried to resist…

    Great blog!

    • TexasTart says:

      I find it funny that most of them serve alcohol and they include alcohol use in virtually everything they do outside of work. Even just mundane daily tasks. And why were they squatting on the sidewalk outside a salon pouring beers in plastic glasses last week? Maybe to avoid an open container / drinking in public law?! IDK but it was like they were a bit too old for frat boys, lol. 🍻🍻

      • Inoright?

        It was weird they walked into the threading place to get their Greta Garbor eyebrows with open beer glasses- not even the red cups that Kim Z. prefers.

      • T-Rex says:

        TT- Although I was a bit younger than these folks when I worked in a Bar, but this is what we all did, and I did work with folks their age. You worked all night in the Bar, and then went to another club or most times a “bottle club” till the break of dawn then went home, passed out and then back at the Bar by 6pm to do it all over again. It was NOT a healthy lifestyle for sure, and is the reason a lot of Bar folks wind up in AA, or worse should be in AA but not realizing it. i got out before all of that and just drink occasionally

  16. Exit4 says:

    I think I’d go with bethenney as the most successful housewife-although how each of us define success is subjective. I say bethenney because I think she beats neenee financially-by far. Neenee will never make 120 mil. plus.

    I also say bethenney because her success is beyond Housewives. People who have never seen Housewives or know, really, who bethenney is-buy Skinny Girl products. Even though she sold to Beam-she still has an ownership stake in the business, which will sustain her for a long time to come. Neenee is more of a novelty act. She pretty much plays a version of herself in all of her non housewives roles. I don’t think she has a shelf life much past her bravo popularity.

    Don’t get me wrong-Neenee has done awesome for herself, but i don’t see her success as long term-whereas bethenney, even without TV, will have it. Bethenney is more an entrepreneur with a larger skill set beyond personality, with Neenee its all personality-and that only gets you so far.

    • TexasTart says:

      I agree with your take on it! Absolutely believe only one has a name outside of HW…but then again Bethenny is going back to it! hmmmm

      Asked my husband to buy a liquid artificial sweetener when he did the shopping and he returned with Skinny Girl. He has no idea, other than thought it was too expensive. I found it too difficult to dispense the correct – or an even amount….it’s a stevia concentrate….super concentrate and you can barely figure how much your dispensing, such a tiny stream!

      • Exit4 says:

        I think it’s a why not? thing for her. It’s something to do-she can promote her projects and get a fat check (and you KNOW they paid her big bucks)! I think she likes being on TV.

      • I think it goes Bethany, Lisa & then NeNe based on $$$ earned from the housewives franchise. I think Lisa is pretty quiet about her success while Bethany revels in it and NeNe brags about it.

        I wonder about Cynthia Bailey’s gigs too- and the modeling school?

        • Exit4 says:

          I don’t really count Lisa, only because she was a success long before Housewives. Had she never joined the show, she’d still be oh-so-fabulous. Housewives, for Lisa, enhanced what she already had. For bethenney and Nene (I just noticed what auto correct was doing to nenes name! Lol) it was the platform on which they built something bigger. If you’ve never read the Forbes article on B, what she pulled off is incredible and beyond savvy. Of course she had the right people behind her, helping her-and she was wise enough to listen! While at the same time, making sure she got what she wanted. I don’t think Cynthia comes close to any of the 3.

          • Powell says:

            Lisa and Kandi are in the same boat. They’re both super ambitious and would have their current success w/o HWs. HWs gave their biz more public exposure.

          • Powell says:

            Cynthia IMO has lost a lot of her dough being married to Peter, bailing him out of his biz difficulties. I think her biz is getting better. I think a few of her models have gotten big time work. Someone was in NYFW?

    • mrs peabody says:

      I think Nene is more of a one hit wonder so to speak but Bethenney I think is a true success story. I think Nene has done great for herself but I really don’t see her being a long term thing. You are right she basically plays herself in what she has done outside of the show.

      • sparklemuffy says:

        I agree about “one hit wonder” NeNe– and I am not a hater– the guy who put her on Glee wanted Kim too– I think Kim would be too lazy to do Broadway though— Thanks Veena–great blog. I think in terms of success –it would be Andy. Sad. He has all he ever wanted. Meanwhile, Has anyone watched Peaky Blinders on Netfix? Holy Canoli!!!! I might be in love. ( don’t tell sparkle granddad) That Cillian Murphy is shockingly beautiful.

        • Exit4 says:

          Good call on Andy! People don’t realize how much andy profits from his ventures! When he left Bravo-people jumped on the fact that he wasnt a VP anymore and looked at it as a demotion. It wasn’t. It was a choice and a smart one-he’s in control. He’s his own brand-he’s more of a Ryan seacrest type now and seacrest is LOADED! Development and production is where the $$$$ is.

          • sparklemuffy says:

            I know! he’s got some kind of thing about women. I didn’t have to read his book to feel bad for him 😦 seriously, who wants bitter clown to be their Moms?

            • Exit4 says:

              Lol! I personally don’t think andy has women issues. Most of his friends are women! I think he just fell into a genre that is ripe with women who HAVE issues! 😉

              But NO I would not want caroline to be my mom. I think caroline hates women more then Andy! She outed her daughter going to the prom with her brother. That’s just sad! Lol

        • TexasTart says:

          I haven’t watched, but when I saw the promos I thought he looked like a young Eric Roberts.

          • sparklemuffy says:

            I just finished TT — there’s only 12 episodes for season 1&2 — it was awesome– He has been in some movies ( Cold Mountain, Batman Trilogy) but he looks completely different.

        • chismosa says:

          I didn’t know ryan murphy wanted Kim 💤💤💤💤💤 also.

          Interesting …….

      • Powell says:

        NeNe works hard but she’s not gracious and being gracious takes you along way in Hollywood.

  17. Powell says:

    Watching OWN Iyanla I’llFix Your House. Oprah is having Nate Berkus renovate Iyanla’s home in MD. She use to live in Silver Spring, 30 minutes from me but her new home is in Baltimore. During the 5 mth reno that started in Jan 2014 Nate & Jeremiah were married. Y’all remember Jeremiah that worked for Rachel Zoe. I new they were engaged but didn’t realize they were married. They showed a pic of Nate & Jeremiah after their ceremony. They’re both so handsome. OMG Mate did an incredible job. Her home is beautiful.

    • chismosa says:

      Yea POWELL I don’t “G E T” couples that are twins …… They look like younger cousins/ cousins
      Scary ! (IMHO)

    • kendo says:

      Loved the house after Nate and team worked their magic. But I kept thinking, why did she buy such a big house. Seems like she may have just needed a one level house, it’s just her and sometimes her man. Just seems like it would be way too much to care for and expensive for utilities.

      • kendographics says:

        I think I would have wanted to try to keep the chandeliers, even if I had to take them apart and create an art piece.The 5 months they spent on that house had to be super expensive, probably more than she paid for the house. 100 people involved – love that Oprah did that for her – I need you Oprah!

  18. TexasTart says:

    Nice of her to take pics with fans.

  19. TexasTart says:

  20. TexasTart says:

    She’s expected to be ‘a friend of’ on Atlanta

  21. Happy Holly Daze says:

    I will turn into another “grumpy cat” If bringing Bethany back doesn’t raise the viewership, and they have no other choice .. but to bring back Jill Z, in the next season….. ugh….

    • VV™ says:

      I am in minority here. I think they should’ve brought Jill Zarin back. Ratings would’ve gone thought the roof. I’m also on minority here but IT IS TIME me to retire Ramona from this show.

      • VV™ says:

        Bethenny alone won’t bring me back to watching RHONY. Bethenny and Jill Zaring again would have definitively done that.

      • Exit4 says:

        For sure! I’ve been over Ramona for years. Its funny, because Ive never “hated” jill zarin. She could definitely be nasty and annoying-but she was also fun sometimes. Jill has the same problem as Kyle-they’re alpha girls who are used to being the leaders of their groups. Then they end up on TV, with 5 or 6 women that are also alphas-and they are all vying for the top spot. She made the mistake of going for the fan favorite and it backfired. Jill just couldn’t get out of her own way.

  22. Powell says:

    Good morning everyone. Rise and shine. 😊 🌅

  23. TexasTart says:

    • Ugh- she’s so boring. Do you know who else will be on with her?

      too lazy to check myself

      (check yourself before you wreck yourself)

      • TexasTart says:

        Oh, I knew, but was too lazy to type it, lol.

        With Cynthia is Bevy Smith of Fashion Queens & Brandon Boykin of the Philadelphia Eagles. Brandon is the bartender.

  24. He was born in 1990.

    Shouldn’t he be in a high chair or something?


  25. Veena (NMD) says:

    Last summer ….

  26. Veena (NMD) says:

    Walking Dead watchers – I am so nervous for tonight. It’s supposed to be very emotional and lots of deaths. I do not want to see any of the major characters go.

    • TexasTart says:

      I recently finished S1 – S3 and a few of S4 on Netflix. I have fluid character knowledge now. It was interesting to see everything retrospectively – character development in particular! And to explain other mysteries I had from joining S4. I hadn’t seen any previews or spoilers, but it would make sense they would have a big deal/cliffhanger tonight since they will break until February – SIGH. I’m sure all the viewers don’t like the break.

  27. Veena (NMD) says:

    • Amber says:

      There’s Gia wearing expensive clothing her parents could never afford, other than acquiring fraudulently.

    • T-Rex says:

      More ConvictFelon’s paid for musical rehearsals? I read they are recording another song, and since NO record company on the planet has signed them for ANYTHING, this is another mummyanddaddyFELONS production. They need to pay their fines and bills they owe everyone instead of bankrolling their daughter, who seems very nice, but isn’t talented at this point in her life.

  28. Veena (NMD) says:

  29. Veena (NMD) says:

    1 hour ago
    He’s the ruler of his own kingdom @chris_manzo

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    He's the ruler of his own kingdom @chris_manzo

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