Desperation Play: Bravo Launches "Real Housewives"

Cable network Bravo is looking to capitalize on two of television's biggest crazes: "Desperate Housewives" and "Orange County."

With ABC's hugely popular "Desperate Housewives" and MTV's reality hit "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," Bravo is launching a mix of the two curiosities: "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

The seven-episode series, which kicks off March 21, is a reality show (think "Laguna Beach") that chronicles the personal stories of real Orange County housewives who might pass for the characters Gabrielle, Bree, or Lynette from the ABC smash. ("Laguna Beach" was spawned by Fox drama "The O.C.")

"These shows are such a part of pop culture, and a lot of what Bravo does is try to explore pop culture," says Bravo spokesperson Brenda Lowry.

Television networks nabbing ideas from one another is nothing new, but "taking the names and putting them together, that's imitation to the nth degree," said Tim Brooks, a television historian and Lifetime executive.

The Bravo show takes place in an extremely wealthy gated Southern California hamlet. In a nod to the "Desperate Housewives" theme, Bravo promotional material asks: "Just what lies beneath the surface of this 'perfect' community?"



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