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Real Housewives of Atlanta

RHOA’s Ratings Takes a Major Dip with Season 11 Premiere, Is Kenya’s Absence to Blame?

Kenya Moore returning to RHOA

The 11th season of the Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered last Sunday to much lower ratings than last season.

According to TV ratings, the premiere episode of RHOA season 11 garnered 1.93 million viewers, a 20% drop from the season 10 premiere episode which was seen by 2.43 million people.

This marks RHOA’s lowest season premiere in 10 years. Only the debut season premiere was seen by less viewers – 650,000 people back in 2008.  The most watched premiere episode came in 2014 when 3.83 million people tuned in to watch the debut of season 7.

So, what gives? Is this big dip related to the absence of Kenya Moore, who is arguably one of the most polarizing housewives to date? Not that the lackluster trailer released last month could have helped matters.

As most RHOA fans are aware, Kenya drew the ire of the producers after she secretly tied the knot in June 2018 to Marc Daly, and then failed to produce her husband for filming. He did later appear in one scene towards the end last season.

Marc’s refusal to be a feature on RHOA, not that anyone can blame the private entrepreneur and former Wall Street banker, reportedly led to a suspension last season during which Kenya was absent from a few episodes. And then following season 10, the production team wanted Kenya to take a pay cut, something she refused which ultimately led to her firing. Some fans called foul citing the fact that Kenya, at the age of 47, was finally married and pregnant with her first child. In fact, in a Housewives first, some fans of Kenya even showed up to protest her firing in front of Bravo’s headquarters.

It probably didn’t help matters that Kenya gave birth to her baby last Sunday… the same day RHOA season 11 premiered, pretty much overshadowing the interviews and news stories of the current cast members of the show. Even CNN covered Kenya’s baby news.

Did the RHOA producers cut off their noses to spite their faces? Perhaps it’s not all about Kenya after all, as in general, ratings for the Real Housewives have been taking a dip over the years. In fact, RHOA’s season 10 premiere of 2.43 million viewers was less than the 2.59 million viewers who watched the season 9 premiere. The season 8 premiere was also higher and seen by 2.96 million viewers.

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And believe it or not, RHOA is the highest rated Housewives franchise for the Bravo network, and has been for years now. In comparison, the season 8 premiere of the Real Housewives of New Jersey debuted last week to just 1.18 million viewers. This is an 18% drop from the 1.44 million viewers who watched the season 7 premiere in 2017.

Atlanta’s 20% drop from last season is however higher than the drop in viewership in other Housewives franchises. In comparison, the RHOC only experienced a drop of 16% in viewers between the season 13 and season 14 premiere episodes, going from 1.68 million viewers to 1.41 million viewers.

It is to be noted however that ratings for ALL television shows are down in general, thanks to the rise of social media and other distractions. Simply put, less people are tuning in to television shows these days. So, when you factor that in, it would appear the Housewives franchise deserves some credit as it remains standing strong 12 years after the Real Housewives of Orange County started it all on March 21, 2006.

A new episode of RHOA airs tonight on Bravo at 8/7c.

Photos Credit: Alex Martinez/Bravo, Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

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