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Real Housewives of Orange County ratings drop after Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson exit

Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson are not on Real Housewives of Orange County this season
Are Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson’s absences the reason for a drop in RHOC ratings? Pic credit: Bravo

The season 15 premiere of The Real Housewives of Orange County aired this week with a 25 percent drop in viewers, begging the question of whether or not this has anything to do with the absence of former cast members the “OG of the OC”, Vicki Gunvalson and self proclaimed, “hottest housewife”, Tamra Judge.

According to Showbuzz Daily, Wednesday night’s premiere had only 1.051 million viewers as compared to 1.416 million during the Season 14 premiere last year.

Vicki and Tamra announce their departure

Prior to leaving the show, Vicki and Tamra were two of the longest tenured housewives of the Orange County cast, making headlines when they announced they were finished with the franchise.

Vicki, who has been on the show since day one, was demoted to a “friend” role during Season 14.

Andy Cohen, when asked about the decision, stated, “The truth is, we’re always looking to freshen up every show”, and added that she would still play a big role in the season.

While Vicki’s role may have been slightly different, she still found a way to “whoop it up” with her castmates throughout the season.

Shortly following the end of Season 14, Vicki took to Instagram to announce the news that she was leaving for good, writing, “I will always be the OG of the OC, but it’s time to say goodbye… I’ve been working on new projects that will be exciting, empowering, and inspirational”.

Days later, Tamra also made an announcement, posting a picture of her and husband, Eddie, with the caption,”It’s been a wild 12 years, but it’s time for me to move on.”

It turns out, however, that leaving the show was not a voluntary choice.  On her new podcast, Whoop it Up with Vicki, the OG had some thoughts about why she and Tamra might have been fired from the cast.

She said, “There’s several things we thought of… we got very expensive and I think they said that viewers were ready for younger blood.”

Tamra echoed similar sentiments on an Instagram live telling fans, “I’m not cheap and that’s why I got fired!”

Vicki and Tamra throw shade at the new season

A few months prior to the Season 15 premiere, Vicki and Tamra took to social media with a few jabs at the new season.

On an Instagram live, Tamra said, “There’s no more tres amigas” in reference to the infamous trio of Vicki, Tamra, and housewife, Shannon Beador.  Tamra added, “They filmed the season finale two nights ago and oddly enough, we weren’t invited.”

Vicki chimed in as well, adding, “And guess what?  The episodes are down to 12 vs 22.  Maybe there’s no content because they’re all fake b*****s!”

The two have since posted snarky comments on other cast member’s social media accounts and housewife, Kelly Dodd, wasted no time clapping back.

In response to Vicki and Tamra’s video, Kelly said, “Move on girlfriend, it’s none of her business…don’t be jelly sister, it will be the best season yet!”

Time will tell whether Vicki and Tamra’s absence will have a lasting impact on viewer ratings but one thing is for certain, the drama is just heating up in the OC.  Be sure to tune in to stay up to date on all of the housewives latest adventures.

The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays 9/8c on Bravo.

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Erica Swift is a freelance writer. The self-proclaimed "reality TV junkie" started her addiction at 14 years old and has been hooked ever since. Her... read more
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