“SEATTLE IS ALWAYS A POSSIBILITY,” says Shari Levine, senior vice president of production at the Bravo network. “But we haven’t found the right group there.” By “group” she means group of housewives—Real Housewives—like the sparring succubi from Orange County who started it all back in 2006. After droves tuned in to watch that cadre of surgically enhanced cuties shop, squabble, and sip ginormous goblets of chardonnay, Bravo took the show to New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, and Beverly Hills. In its juiciest moments, Real Housewives can attract upwards of four million viewers, but not every spinoff has scored: Bravo dumped its DC show after just one dismal season.
So could Seattle work? Carly Chillmon, a sociologist and adjunct professor at Seattle University, says no. “Based on the demographics, I would suggest a Real Housewives of Bellevue over Seattle,” she says. Bellevueites are wealthier than Seattleites, she points out, and traditional marriages are more prevalent on the east side of Lake Washington. And while the TV housewives aren’t all actually housewives—many work, some are divorced or single—a zest for upscale shopping seems to be required. From a cultural point of view, Chillmon says Bellevue makes for a much more suitable backdrop for the show. “Take the Shops at the Bravern,” she says. This collection of luxury retailers, with its concierge service and high-end health club, speaks to a city that could provide the sort of luxury lifestyle rubbernecking that Real Housewives viewers crave.
But Hermès bags and valet parking aside, there may be another reason we’re unlikely to see reality cameras lurking around our neck of the woods. And that, oh shy citizenry, is the Northwest’s notorious introversion. In the words of Shari Levine: “Taciturn doesn’t make for great television.”