If you can’t get enough Real Housewives here in America, there are also versions of the popular Bravo franchise in Africa and NBCUniversal has plans to expand the series across the continent.
According to Variety, the announcement that new versions in Nairobi and Pretoria will join the current series set in Lagos, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Pretoria is filming now, with Nairobi set to begin production in September.
Based on the trailers, it seems like the franchise is taking a familiar approach to these new outings, as they follow a well-known formula. Rich women flaunt their privileged lifestyle while bickering and stirring up drama amongst one another. Well, I guess if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Ana Langenberg, senior VP, format sales and productions, NBCUniversal Formats, touted how the various shows highlight the cities they’re set in and the desire to do the same in Africa. While this is true in some respects, I would argue that these series stopped being about their locations several spinoffs ago.
“We are so proud to build on the continued success of The Real Housewives franchises across Africa. The way each version faithfully embodies the spirit of the city, people and rich cultures it showcases connects with audiences across the region and the diaspora,” Langenberg said. “It was such a magical moment to bring our production partners together with Multichoice for our summit in Cape Town to connect, collaborate and map out more versions we can add to the family.”
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Stateside The Real Housewives universe has come under fire, with one of its biggest stars accusing producers of “fostering a racist work environment.”
NeNe Leakes is suing NBCUniversal, Bravo, Andy Cohen and the producers behind The Real Housewives of Atlanta in federal court for allegedly ignoring her complaints about racist comments made by co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann.
“NBC, Bravo and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated–if not, encouraged,” the suit reads.
Anytime a major production like The Real Housewives wants to showcase Africa, it’s good news. Though I hope this is really about highlighting the diaspora and not exploiting it.