For the first time, Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” has not changed its cast from the previous year. The same six women are featured: the three originals Sheree Whitfield, NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak, season two addition Kandi Burruss and season three adds Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks.
There have been reports that Zolciak will use this season to get a spin off with her squeeze Kroy Biermann and the baby, but nothing is official. For now, it’s more of the same.
Ratings hit a peak last year of 3.1 million, up from season two. It was the biggest season of any “Real Housewives” franchise. Will the show be able to maintain that momentum or are people finally starting to lose interest?
From what I can ascertain, there are 18 episodes, which may or may not include the two reunion shows. That’s how many aired last season.
I received a screener this week before the season four debut Sunday at 9 p.m. You’ll get a real sense of deja vu because, as shown in the previews, Sheree and NeNe go at it.
Three years ago, in the very first episode, Sheree and NeNe argued as well, but my memory is fuzzy over what. Sheree had a party where NeNe was not on the list and NeNe left in a huff. This time, the dispute is over money. NeNe allegedly trying to block Sheree out of some appearance cash. This bubbles over into issues of jealousy and big egos, as in Sheree is supposedly jealous and NeNe’s ego may have gotten even bigger, if that’s possible.
Things to watch for in the first episode, without giving away too much:
- Dwight Eubanks is gone, effectively replaced by Miss Lawrence as the resident gay hairdresser. Lawrence is working with Kandi on his music though the song we hear seems ill-suited for his voice.
- NeNe has alienated everybody on the cast – except Cynthia. She’s the only cast member who seems to like her anymore.
- Kim’s singing “career”? On ice now that she’s preggers. Her tummy’s growing, she’s not smoking or drinking (at least on camera) and she’s uncomfortable. She and Kroy move in together. Oddly, she seems less annoying than usual.
- NeNe, besides her issues with Sheree, doesn’t kick out her lackadaisical, poker-faced son Bryce. Instead, she gets him a big gift – from a guy she slept with many years ago. She’s also separated from her husband Gregg. And while this line is out of context, NeNe actually said this to Sheree: “While you were running your mouth, I was running to the bank.” (Yes, NeNe has no problem name-dropping Donald Trump from her rather mixed but very buzz-worthy “Celebrity Apprentice” experience shown earlier this year.)
- Phaedra Parks, now a mommy, gets interested in the funeral business, not that this has much to do with being a lawyer.
- Cynthia Bailey, newly betrothed, is moving beyond modeling and starts her own agency. She brings in a big guest, at least a big guest if you are into “America’s Next Top Model.”
- Speaking of new businesses, Kandi is starting a sex toy line, something I wrote about a couple months ago. Sheree and Phaedra are amused.
- Sheree? Didn’t she try to get into acting season three after her clothing line died on the vine season two? Her career doesn’t come up this first episode beyond making appearances and there are no signs of acting gigs in the trailer. But she is trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip – her ex husband – for child support.
“Real Housewives of Atlanta”
9 p.m. Bravo, Sundays, starting Nov. 6