When American network Bravo made a reality series in 2006 about the weird but fascinating lives of upper-class women, nobody could have predicted the phenomenon it would become. Ten years after the original Real Housewives of Orange County aired the concept has become its own industry. The original TV series has stretched to 11 seasons with spin-off shows – eight in the US and seven internationally with the Real Housewives genre in countries from Canada and the UK to Greece and Thailand.
So when Foxtel decided to bring the Real Housewives franchise to Australia, they already had a world’s worth of experience. Fans knew what to expect – what worked, what didn’t, and what they could try to give the Australian edition its own unique flavour.
The Real Housewives of Melbourne was an instant hit on Foxtel’s Arena channel. Viewers were introduced to eight very real women including a lawyer, caterer, charity ambassador, property developer, and even a rock star’s wife. The classic franchise, with a unique Australian touch, gained a huge American fan base. When the second season premiered on the Bravo channel over half a million viewers tuned in. Back home it won the AACTA Award for Best Reality Television Series, 2015.
Why Real Housewives is so popular
The original Real Housewives series, set in Orange County, California, was inspired by the success of the fictional TV drama Desperate Housewives. Filmed under blue Californian skies (but on set at Universal Studios) the producers learnt that the lives of real women in a similar situation generated more story and drama than they could’ve hoped for.
With its larger-than-life depictions of a group of financially well-off older women and their often glamorous, sometimes uncomfortable lives, in a luxurious gated community, viewers loved it – really loved it. In fact, the original series is still running a decade later. Next came a New York version, then the floodgates opened – Atlanta, New Jersey, D.C., Beverly Hills, Dallas… the list went on. A remarkable seven of those US series are still in production. The concept quickly spread around the world to Greece, Canada, France, England, and New Zealand and of course Australia.
The Australian edition seems to have nailed the concept, combining the unique location (Melbourne does opulence as good as any city) with a spot-on cast, which has been refined as the seasons go on.
So, when’s the fourth season coming?
So far, all three Real Housewives of Melbourne seasons have premiered in late February – but that won’t be the case in 2017. But don’t worry – it’s coming to Foxtel this year. It’s just going to take a little longer to arrive. Original housewife Chyka has left the series to get back to her busy job in catering, and the producers are no doubt looking for a replacement. But the delay launching the fourth season is largely down to timing – because there’s something new and exciting coming. Filming of the Melbourne series has, effectively, been delayed by Arena and Foxtel’s newest arrival – The Real Housewives of Sydney. Produced by the same award-winning team, it premieres in the slot that the Melbourne series has taken in previous years – starting February 26th on Arena, only through Foxtel.
Meet the Sydney housewives
The new Sydney series has its own cast of seven women to guide us through the trials and tribulations of life in Australia’s biggest and fastest-paced city. The producers have outdone themselves again with the variety in the casting. There are creative types like painter and sculptor AthenaX, and ARIA award-winning pop singer and actress Melissa Tkautz (you might have her single Read My Lips hiding in your collection!)
There’s the wife of controversial former One Nation politician David Oldfield, Lisa – who herself courts controversy as a media commentator. Throw in a couple of former models (one a former Miss Australia) turned businesswoman, and some beauty industry women, and you’ve got yourself a show.
There are some new Real Housewives to catch up with. Photo: Foxtel
If you can’t wait to sink your teeth into a double helping of Australia’s own Real Housewives, you’re not alone. Anticipation for the new series is running high. Fans will be glued to the screen when the first instalment airs in February. If you’re new to the whole concept, there’s no need to feel left out. You can stream all the previous seasons free of charge thanks to Foxtel Play’s completely obligation-free two-week trial. You’ll get a world of entertainment including that precious Arena channel. You can binge on full seasons of the previous Real Housewives of Melbourne, watch sneak peeks of the new Sydney series and other Real Housewives shows.
Thanks to the new Foxtel Play pricing and upgraded tech, you can catch the new season on Arena even after your two-week trial – in high definition on Telstra TV, with other platforms to come – for only $10/month. Yes, you read that right – Foxtel Play’s new packs are amazing value. The Lifestyle pack has Arena and seven other key lifestyle channels for $10/month. There’s nothing else to pay – no connection fees, no contracts, no stress, just the shows you love at a price you’ll love. We’d call that a win! Read the Foxtel Play review if you want more info on all the good news about their new plans.
Foxtel Play lets you stream live Foxtel channels as well as catch-up seasons on everything from your big-screen TV (through Telstra TV, game consoles or the app on your TV itself) to your home PC, laptop, mobile phone and tablet. It’s the easiest way to experience Foxtel – and it’s more flexible than ever. Jump onto the two-week free trial and give it a spin for yourself – we know you’ll like it. And get ready for the all-new Real Housewives of Sydney, streaming from February 26th on Arena!