LOS ANGELES (LALATE EXCLUSIVE) – Gretchen Rossi, Tamra Barney and Heather Dubrow brought lots of big hairdos to the Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion Part 1 on Tuesday. They also brought big ratings. The reunion also featuring Vicki Gunvalson and Alexis Bellino shattered all TV ratings standards that RHOC had set for 2012, LALATE can report. And while Bravo is reportedly seeking to cast new RHOC cast member(s), Bravo delivered jaw-dropping ratings numbers on Tuesday with its current cast.
Since last season, LALATE has detailed how certain modification by producers of RHOC themes has aided series ratings. In the middle of last season, the show was struggling to find a cohesive theme that carried episode to episode. Late in the season, producers brought back Jeana Keough to create a story-arch with Tamra Barney.
The Jeana Keough – Tamra Barney arch in 2011 still remains the biggest ratings benchmark for the series in the last two years. In the season finale last year, Tamra and Jeana’s dispute drew an unprecedented 2.88 ratings share. The “I’ll throw your skinny little [body] in the pool!” episode was not only the highest rated episode that season, it remains the highest rated episode in two years.
This season, Gretchen Rossi, Tamra Barney and newcomer Heather Dubrow helped keep episode-to-episode ratings much higher, earlier in the season, then last year. RHOC, however, had struggled to top competitors Tosh.O and Dance Moms, week to week. In the finale they virtually did it.
And while through the season, Rossi and Co. delivered roughly a 1.91 ratings share per week, how did the RHOC women do on Tuesday night ? The show skyrocketed to a 2.51 ratings share! The show moreover finished fourth among young adults, delivering a 1.2 ratings share in the key 18-49 demographic.
Social media responded exceptionally well to the RHOC reunion, especially to the Dubrow-Bellino conflict. LALATE watched “Heather Dubrow” and “Alexis Bellino” trending on Twitter nationally during the reunion episode.
There was a clear progression of fans retweeting Dubrow’s remarks about Bellino during the telecast, many proclaiming Dubrow their favorite new housewife, of any franchise. Lines like “If everyone says you’re dead, it’s time to lie down”, “He’s like your Daddy”, and “What [fool] gets into a fight if she think she can lose” were also trending throughout social media.
But which story created the biggest viral reaction Tuesday night? It wasn’t Gretchen, Tamra, or Heather. The leading story on Tuesday night remained Brooks Ayers and Vicki Gunvalson. Brooks Ayers’ relationship with Vicki Gunvalson has remained the leading storyline draw for ratings throughout the season. In the reunion, despite new revelations, fan reaction to Brooks Ayers still remained a big point of viewer debate.