Can We Really Have RHOC Without Vicki & Tamra?

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
The world of Bravo's popular Real Housewives franchise is a revolving door — Housewives come, Housewives go. But within each series in the sprawling reality universe, there are some personalities who are staples within their respective city. For much of its run, New York's spinoff was dominated by Bethenny Frankel, and NeNe Leakes was similarly the face of the Atlanta installment as Lisa Vanderpump was to Beverly Hills. In Orange County, the inaugural Housewives show, Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge were the undisputed stars of the show — yet the upcoming fifteenth season is moving on full steam ahead without either of them.
Season 15 of RHOC will be the first time that neither Gunvalson nor Judge will appear on the show in some capacity, and that means that viewers might be looking at an entirely different show. Loyal fans might have seen this switch-up coming. Last season, Gunvalson was demoted from a full-time Housewife to a friend of the cast, making appearance at parties and on group trips. Earlier this year, she announced her official departure from the show.
"I will always be the OG of the OC, but it’s time to say goodbye to The Real Housewives of Orange County," Gunvalson wrote on Instagram in January 2020. "It’s been an incredible ride for 14 years and I want thank all of you for your support, for your love and for ‘whooping it up’ with me along the way."
Judge was full-time throughout her time on the show, but her contentious relationships with several of her co-stars members made many watching from home question her future on RHOC. Before production for season 15 began, Judge found herself in a similar predicament as Gunvalson, a source confirming to Us Weekly that the fitness entrepreneur refused to return to RHOC because she had not been recast as a Housewife but as someone with a limited airtime.
"They offered her a part-time role and she declined,” the insider revealed. “She was on the fence anyhow.”
Since making her exit, Gunvalson has been very vocal about the decision to step away from Bravo, chalking it up to her belief that the network wanted "newer blood."
"We got very expensive," Gunvalson mused on a June episode of her Whoop It Up with Vicki podcast. "I think they said that viewers were ready for younger blood."
Sure, Shannon Beador and RHOC's enthusiastic villain Kelly Dodd still have their oranges, but the cast is mostly comprised of women who are still fairly new to the reality game. Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson, Braunwyn Windham-Burke will return, and newcomer Elizabeth Lyn Vargas rounds out the crew. Even though they're no longer starring on the show, you better believe that Gunvalson and Judge will be watching — not in a supportive way, though.
Eager to see how the last member of the Tres Amigas and the rest of the cast fare without Gunvalson and Judge? The Real Housewives of Orange County returns to Bravo tonight.

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