Someone, take off the Housewife – please. And while you’re at it, could you put something decent on? A Wagner Opera? The London Philharmonic playing say, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons? Along the way to Public Television, someone got waylaid at BravoTV and now they’ve built a brand that plays to a somewhat lower common sensibility.
It’s a ridiculous, over-the-top, amusing idea that challenges the usual business thinking on the word “brand,” but it’s a brand none the less. Pick a city, not necessarily any city, and preface it with The Real Housewives of … and there you have it – the brand. A successful series on Bravo that features “real life housewives.” First it was just Orange County, but now it’s added New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. It also added $22 million worth of advertising in 2008.
It isn’t necessary to be a wife to be a Housewife. Several are not currently married. They’re funny, fussy, snooty, catty, probably in some cases sleazy but they refuse to be trapped inside of someone else’s stereotype. They’re never seen cleaning. They cook only for pay. They have an unconventional approach to child raising – and convention isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway.
The Housewives brand was introduced shortly after the fictional television show, “Desperate Housewives,” became a hit. Except at Housewives, they upped the stakes and edge just a bit. The formula appears to require rich women behaving not so well. Regardless, like gawkers to a trainwreck, curious folk cannot stop watching. So the Housewives and their brand are having the last laugh, launching businesses and books galore from the buzz. They have figured out that ratings, rewards and a good catfight go hand in claws.
Somewhere any number of folk are brainstorming classy, elegant television shows to appeal to more proper audiences. We’re hoping to watch those when they come along. It’s always nice to be proper and elegant about your television watching. Meanwhile, one Bravo executive was quoted saying, “I know more really, really smart people who watch these shows who are like, ‘I’m embarrassed to admit it,’ ”