The Real Housewives of Atlanta (abbreviated RHOA) is an American reality television series that premiered on October 7, 2008, on Bravo. Developed as the third installment of The Real Housewives franchise, following The Real Housewives of Orange County and New York City, it is currently in its tenth season and focuses on the personal and professional lives of several women residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
The series originally focused on NeNe Leakes, DeShawn Snow, Shereé Whitfield, Lisa Wu, and Kim Zolciak. The tenth season lineup consists of Leakes, Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey, Kenya Moore, and Porsha Williams. Of the original housewives, Snow and Wu-Hartwell respectively left after the first and second seasons; Whitfield initially left after the fourth season before returning as a friend of the housewives in the eighth and a full-time housewife in the ninth; Zolciak stopped filming during production of the fifth season before returning as a friend of the housewives in the tenth; and Leakes left after the seventh before returning for the tenth. The remaining housewives joined in later seasons; Burruss in the second, Bailey in the third, Moore and Williams in the fifth (the latter of whom was a friend of the housewives in the seventh). Past housewives include Phaedra Parks (season 3–9), Claudia Jordan (season 7), and Kim Fields (season 8).
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has received moderately favorable reviews from critics and has been recognized as a "guilty pleasure" by several media outlets. However, the series has been criticized for appearing to fabricate portions of its storyline. As of February 2014, it was the highest-rated installment of The Real Housewives franchise and the most-watched series airing on Bravo. Its success has resulted in the conceptions of the spin-offs The Kandi Factory (featuring Burruss), Don't Be Tardy (featuring Zolciak), I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding (featuring Leakes), Kandi's Wedding and Kandi's Ski Trip (again, featuring Burruss).
Overview and casting
The Real Housewives of Atlanta was announced as the third installment in The Real Housewives franchise, intending to capitalize on the successes of its predecessors The Real Housewives of Orange County and New York City. Its television network Bravo stated that the series' planned storyline focused on "[balancing] motherhood, demanding careers and a fast-paced social calendar".
Throughout its run, The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been led by five (seasons 1–2), six (seasons 3–10 with the exception of some of season 5), and seven (some of season 5) housewives, who are credited by their first names, and is distinguished within The Real Housewives franchise in that it was, until the introduction of The Real Housewives of Potomac in 2016, the only installment with a predominantly black cast. Its original main housewives were Lisa Wu, DeShawn Snow, NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, and Shereé Whitfield. Snow departed from the program after the first season, and alleged that producers considered her to be "too human for a circus show" and was replaced by Kandi Burruss in the second season.
The third season saw the departure of Hartwell and the addition of Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks. The main lineup remained unchanged during the fourth season, although Marlo Hampton joined as a friend of the housewives. Whitfield exited the series upon the conclusion of the fourth season, and was replaced by Porsha Williams and Kenya Moore in the fifth season. Zolciak departed from the program in the middle of the fifth season. The departure of Zolciak made Leakes the only remaining original cast member as of season six; however, Zolciak commented that she might be interested in returning to the series. In the seventh season, Williams became a friend of the housewives, alongside new cast member Demetria McKinney, while Claudia Jordan was introduced as a main housewife.
In June 2015, the network announced that The Real Housewives of Atlanta had been renewed for an eight-season, with both NeNe Leakes and Claudia Jordan departing from the show. After Leakes' departure, the series became the first Real Housewives franchise to not retain any original cast members as full-time participants. In September 2015, Bravo announced that Porsha Williams would be returning as a full-time housewife once again, along with newcomer actress Kim Fields. The network also announced that former housewife Whitfield, together with new cast member Shamea Morton, would join the series in a supporting capacity, with former cast members, Leakes, Hampton, Jordan and McKinney making guest appearances.
In April 2016, Bravo announced that the series is renewed for a ninth season. Fields confirmed in March 2016 that she would not be returning to the series. Despite previously confirming her return, Leakes confirmed in September 2016 that she was not asked back for the series' ninth season. The ninth season premiered on November 6, 2016, with Whitfield returning in a full-time capacity for the first time since the fourth season. Hampton and Morton made multiple guest appearances during the season, with former housewives Wu and Zolciak-Biermann making appearances in the season's finale.
In April 2017, the series was renewed for its tenth season. In June, Leakes announced she would be returning for the upcoming season. In July, Zolciak-Biermann announced she would be returning to the show in a recurring capacity. The tenth season premiered on November 5, 2017, with all cast members returning from the previous season, with an exclusion of Parks. Morton and Hampton are set to make numerous appearances throughout the season as well. It was announced in September that Eva Marcille would be joining the series in a recurring capacity. 
Timeline of housewives
|Friends of the housewives|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||October 7, 2008||November 25, 2008|
|2||16||July 30, 2009||November 12, 2009|
|3||18||October 4, 2010||February 20, 2011|
|4||23||November 6, 2011||April 22, 2012|
|5||24||November 4, 2012||April 28, 2013|
|6||27||November 3, 2013||May 18, 2014|
|7||25||November 9, 2014||May 10, 2015|
|8||21||November 8, 2015||April 10, 2016|
|9||25||November 6, 2016||May 14, 2017|
|10||TBA||November 5, 2017||TBA|
In its series premiere, The Real Housewives of Atlanta introduced Wu-Hartwell, Snow, Leakes, Zolciak, and Whitfield. Leakes and Whitfield were in the midst of a personal conflict, which was escalated after Leakes was excluded from Whitfield's birthday party. Meanwhile, Zolciak was revealed to be dating a publicly unknown boyfriend nicknamed "Big Papa", and later decided to pursue her aspirations of becoming a country music singer. Her friendship with Leakes deteriorated after she established a companionship with Whitfield, and was ended after Leakes made sarcastic remarks about Zolciak's music career. Snow and Wu-Hartwell additionally looked to establish prominence as a socialite and a jewelry designer, respectively. Whitfield attempted to launch her own fashion line and organize a lunch for the women to reconcile, although both ventures proved unsuccessful in the finale of the first season.
The second season saw the introduction of Burruss, who had recently become engaged to her boyfriend A.J. and expressed interest in reviving her music career. An attempted reconciliation between Leakes, Whitfield, and Zolciak failed to come to fruition, while a feud developed between Leakes and Burruss after the latter became friends with Zolciak and helped her record her single "Tardy for the Party". Meanwhile, Zolciak attempted to launch her own wig line and became engaged to Big Papa, while Wu-Hartwell and Whitfield launched their own clothing collections.
The third season saw the introduction of Bailey and Parks, while Leakes and Zolciak reconciled as the former contemplated divorcing her husband Gregg and the latter began a lesbian relationship. Parks, who was in the middle of her pregnancy, clashed with her husband Apollo Nida over their differing opinions on parenting; she gave birth later in the season. Meanwhile, Zolciak and Burruss continued recording music together, although they clashed over their creative differences. Bailey later became engaged to her boyfriend Peter Thomas, while Zolciak set her affections on football player Kroy Biermann; a conflict between Burruss, Leakes, and Zolciak later ensued while the latter two women embark on a promotional concert tour. Against the advice of her mother and sister, Bailey married Thomas in the third-season finale.
The fourth season began as Zolciak was in the middle of her first pregnancy by her boyfriend Biermann; she later gave birth to their son. Leakes continued divorce proceedings with Gregg, while Whitfield found herself in financial difficulties after her ex-husband failed to pay child support. Meanwhile, Bailey opened her own modeling agency, while Parks looked to launch a family-operated funeral home. Leakes's new friendship with Hampton caused tension between all of the women, which escalated during a group vacation in South Africa; while Zolciak, who had remained home with her children, became upset by negative comments Bailey (not Burruss) made about her during the group vacation. As the season closed, Leakes began to reconsider her divorce from Gregg.
As the fifth season introduced former Miss USA Moore and football player Kordell Stewart's wife Williams, Leakes reconciled with Gregg and pondered the possibility of remarrying him. Zolciak was forced to move out of her mansion, which she and Biermann had attempted to purchase less than a year earlier, Leakes began to question Moore's seemingly unfaithful behavior towards her boyfriend Walter during a group trip to Anguilla, which began a feud between Leakes and Williams against Moore. Moore wished to marry Walter although their relationship had begun to deteriorate, while Parks and Moore created competing workout DVDs after plans to make the project a joint venture proved unsuccessful. Toward the end of the season, Williams attempted to revive her failing marriage to Stewart with therapist sessions.
Williams came to the realization that her marriage was not salvageable as the sixth season commenced, while Leakes became upset with Moore after the later went against "girl code" by inappropriately communicating with Nida. Moore moved out of her rental property after being evicted, while Leakes returned to Atlanta full-time after her television series The New Normal was canceled. Burruss struggled to manage the conflict between her estranged mother Joyce and her longtime boyfriend Todd Tucker, although they attempted to reconcile as the couple became engaged and began planning their nuptials. In a later attempt to salvage the relationships between the women, Leakes hosted a couples pajama party for their group, although the women continued to clash with one another; a later spa gathering failed to resolve residual tension between Leakes and Moore. Meanwhile, Williams attempted to launch her career as an actress after being cast in Burruss's musical.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been moderately well received by critics. Writing for Common Sense Media, Melissa Camacho spoke favorably of the series' emphasis on "a successful and powerful segment of the African-American community" that appears to be frequently neglected by the popular television. Tim Hall from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer commented of his general distaste for reality television, particularly describing The Real Housewives of Orange County as "utterly ridiculous". However, he admitted that the dynamic and conflict between the women, in addition to the wealthy lifestyles they led, to be "somewhat entertaining". In a more mixed review, Alessandra Stanley from The New York Times joked that its portrayal of wealth served as "the best choice for a time capsule of the Bling Decade" when noting the economic downturn the United States experienced around the time that the series premiered, although more seriously stated that the housewives' luxuries "was never all that enviable, and now it looks as if it might not be viable." Hanh Nguyen from Zap2It shared a similar sentiment, criticizing that the "showy elite and rampant consumerism" that the women regularly display "seems rather out of touch" given the United States' economic hardship, although she elaborated that the program "[is] not by any means boring, but you do have to be in the mood to watch."
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been recognized as a "guilty pleasure" by several media outlets. Writing for About.com, Latoya West commented that the "self-absorbed" nature of the housewives may become irritating to viewers, but noted that the series' "divalicious drama might be addictive." The staff from Entertainment Weekly joked that they "are never tardy for this party"; they felt that "[Leakes] alone could keep [The Real Housewives of Atlanta] on the map", and additionally credited Zolciak's "slow train to cuckootown, making all local stops" for helping to establish "the franchise for the ages." In 2009, a writer from Essence mentioned that they "couldn't get enough of the ladies" from the program, and recognized it as the best reality show of the year. Writing for Today, Leslie Bruce commented that The Real Housewives franchise in general rose to prominence for its depiction of "foul-mouthed, often catfighting and always self-promoting" women, and stated that they "dominate water-cooler discussions [...] by showcasing at times the worst of female behavior."
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been criticized for appearing to fabricate portions of its storyline. One source of speculation arose during the fifth season, when Kenya Moore allegedly requested that Walter Jackson pretend to be her boyfriend; series producers were reportedly unaware of said arrangement. Moore commented that such claims were "completely false", and further "[urged] viewers to stay tuned because the truth will come to light." Moore was also criticized for alleging that she was financially stable, although she reportedly joined the series as a source of income to offset the difficulties with her lawsuits from several creditors. In May 2013, Porsha Williams allegedly staged her divorce from Kordell Stewart to secure her position on the series, which she reportedly feared was in jeopardy. In December 2013, Williams received additional criticism for comments made in an episode aired during the sixth season, where she indicated that she believed the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad line.
U.S. television ratings
The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the most popular of the Real Housewives franchise. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that it was "most popular in the Black Belt, but maintains fairly consistent popularity everywhere" in the US.
The first season maintained an average of 1.495 million weekly viewers; Bravo announced that the series had become the first program from the network to "crack the two million viewer mark among adults 18–49." The premiere episode of the second season was watched by 2.66 million people, setting the record for the highest-rated The Real Housewives premiere episode in the franchise's history at the time. The third season averaged a weekly viewership of 3.6 million people, while the fourth and fifth seasons premiered with 2.8 million and 3.2 million viewers, respectively. The sixth-season premiere was watched by 3.1 million people; with 1.9 million viewers being classified in the adults 25–54 demographic, it became the highest-rated episode in this target demographic. As of February 2014, The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the highest-rated installment of The Real Housewives franchise, and is additionally the most-watched series airing on Bravo. The premiere episode of the seventh season attracted over 3.8 million viewers during its initial broadcast on November 9, 2014, including 2.2 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic via Nielsen ratings. It marked as the most watched season premiere ever to air on Bravo.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs regularly on Bravo in the United States; most episodes are approximately one hour in length, and are broadcast in standard definition and high definition. Since its premiere, the series has alternated airing on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings and has been frequently shifted between the 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 PM timeslots. The first season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta included seven episodes and one reunion special, and aired from October 7, 2008, until November 25, 2008. The second season consisted of fourteen episodes, a two-part reunion special, and a deleted scenes special; it premiered on July 30, 2009, and concluded on November 5, 2009. The third season commenced airing on October 4, 2010, after airing sixteen episodes and a two-part reunion special, it ended on January 30, 2011. The fourth season aired from November 6, 2011 until April 22, 2012; it included twenty episodes and a three-part reunion special. The fifth season premiered on November 4, 2012, and concluded on April 21, 2013 after broadcasting twenty episodes and a three-part reunion special. The sixth season commenced airing on November 3, 2013, and ended on May 18, 2014. It included a three-part reunion special, a secrets revealed special, and (for the first time in Real Housewives history), a husbands revealed special.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta was renewed for a seventh season in April 2014. The season premiered on November 9, 2014, and concluded with a three-part reunion. The eighth season premiered on November 8, 2015.
Zolciak received the first spin-off from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, titled Don't Be Tardy for the Wedding, which documented the preparations for her nuptials to Kroy Biermann. It premiered on April 9, 2012 and was renewed for a second season on April 16, 2013, at which time its title was shortened to Don't Be Tardy. The show returned for a third season on July 17, 2014. Subsequent seasons follow the daily lives of Kim and her now-husband Kroy as he tries to juggle between his professional career and personal life while Kim deals with her growing family. Originally planned as a one-time television special, The Kandi Factory was launched as the second spin-off from The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2012. It followed Burruss and her record producers as they attempted to launch the music careers of undiscovered artists, although it was confirmed in 2013 that the series was canceled after airing one season. After reconciling with her ex-husband Gregg, Leakes received her own spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, which documented the preparations for their second wedding; it premiered on September 17, 2013. Bravo announced Burruss and Tucker's wedding spin-off, Kandi's Wedding, on April 8, 2014. The series premiered on June 1, 2014, and concluded on July 6, 2014. Kandi's Wedding brought in very high ratings for Bravo, and topped NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak's previous spin-offs. In March 2015, Bravo renewed Don't Be Tardy... for a fourth season as well as announced another spin-off show, NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches, starring both Leakes and Zolciak. However, the network later decided not to move forward with the show. The network later announced another series titled Kandi's Ski Trip, the third offshoot starring Burruss. The three-part special premiered after the conclusion of the seventh season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.