With the coronavirus pandemic halting production on most television shows, networks are evaluating their programming slates — and Bravo is no exception. The cabler, best known for its “Real Housewives” franchise, must deal with a real-world pandemic on currently airing shows and those yet to come.
Only one “Housewives” franchise — Atlanta — is currently on the air. Season 12 “The Real Housewives of New York” debuts Thursday, April 2 while Season 10 of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” debuts on Wednesday, April 15. While both upcoming shows wrapped filming before the pandemic, they cannot be released any sooner (as some feature films have done) because the coronavirus has put the brakes on post-production. (The cities of Beverly Hills/Los Angeles and New York City have shut down non-essential businesses during the pandemic.)
With many viewers practicing self-isolation, there’s a demand for “New York” and “Beverly Hills” to get released early, but that’s just not possible, says Andy Cohen, the former Bravo programming executive behind the franchise who also serves as host of the popular reunion shows as well as the “Watch What Happens Live!” talk show.
“I’m getting so much release ‘New York’ now, release ‘Beverly Hills’ now!” Cohen told SiriusXM host Amy Phillips on Monday. “The issue is there’s only a certain amount of episodes totally color-corrected and locked right now, for both of those shows; I think for ‘New York’ there’s like, eight or nine done and for ‘Beverly Hills,’ there’s like, five done. Something like that.”
It’s common practice for production to work on upcoming episodes while current episodes air. (Netflix is an exception, dropping all episodes of series like “Love Is Blind” at once.) Cohen admitted that the coronavirus has slowed down edits as post-production has to be done individually at home rather than in a collaborative office.
“If we released all those now, we would wind up screwing ourselves in the end, so that’s the issue. The truth of the matter is, if this is going to go on for a while, just think of how much more we’re going to be ready for New York in ten days when it premieres! I just think we need to be focused,” Cohen added.
Cohen added that fans won’t be seeing an “Atlanta” reunion soon, even though its season is nearing its finish. The finale — which typically translates into at least two or three episodes — has been delayed due to travel restrictions. Cohen himself has tested positive for the coronavirus and is self-quarantined. He said there are no plans to hold a virtual reunion. Cohen also teased that a trailer for “Potomac” will be dropping soon.
As for shows currently in production, an insider tells TheWrap that “The Real Housewives of Orange County” — the original “Housewives” show — has paused production with no exact timetable on when it will start up again. The source says it is also early to tell how productions on “Housewives” spin-off “Vanderpump Rules” — which typically begins in June — and “The Real Housewives of Dallas” will be affected by the coronavirus.
Bravo’s slate isn’t the only thing that may change as a result of the coronavirus. Hallmarks of the “Housewives” franchises — international trips, crowded parties, restaurant meetings — may all be changed for the health and well-being of the casts and crews.
Listen to Cohen’s interview with Phillips below: