A new casting shake-up has breathed new life into the Real Housewives of Orange County. The last season proved to be the final straw for many fans who grew frustrated with the cast after the departures of fan favourites such as Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson. Not to mention Kelly Dodd’s resurfaced racist comments that left fans bitter about her narrow-minded attitude.
After a rocky season 15, fans called for the franchise to be cancelled altogether, or for a complete reboot of the cast. It would appear the fans were heard loud and clear. Season 16 will see Kelly Dodd, Elizabeth Vargas and Braunwyn Windham-Burke exit the series, while fan favourite Heather Dubrow will rejoin the cast. Shannon Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson will stay on — which comes as no surprise considering Gina and Emily have been praised for their genuine and relatable friendship.
Heather Dubrow is an actress who shares four children with her husband, Botched star Terry Dubrow. She first joined the cast for season 7, and left of her own will right before the start of season 12. Before she exited, she had a famous feud with then-newcomer Kelly Dodd, and had solidified herself as a Real Housewives veteran.
Each departing cast member said their goodbyes either in statements to the press or on their social media. Braunwyn has a lot to look back on, even though she was only on the show for two seasons. “It feels revolutionary to say, but I was able to get sober and stay sober on reality TV,” she said in a statement to People. “That’s something for which I will forever be grateful. And I came out, becoming the first gay Housewife in the franchise’s history. What an incredible honor to look back upon, especially during Pride Month.”
A premiere date hasn’t been announced for season 16, but it’s certainly something to look forward to.