Is ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ reboot already a flop?

OPINION: Season 16, which is currently being filmed, was supposed to be a fresh start for the aging reality series. But the abrupt exit of Kenya Moore is casting a pall over the upcoming season.

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta," Season 15. Pictured: (L-R) Drew Sidora, Marlo Hampton, Sheree Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Kenya Moore, Sanya Richards Ross. (Photo by: AB+DM/Bravo via Getty Images)

As much as I have loved and cherished “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” since it launched in 2008, it has felt like a chore to watch it for at least three seasons.

While the formally No. 1 rated show on Bravo was always known for the reads and shade-throwing between cast members, there appeared to be some level of camaraderie between them based on real relationships. The show itself had a witty and irreverent charm to it that made it such a standout. 

There had been darker moments to be sure, but after the controversy sparked by Phaedra Parks admitting to spreading false drug accusations about Kandi Burruss in season nine, I had hoped that both cast members and the production behind the series realized that kind of thing is not why the show pops.

It was actually rich ladies – real or imagined – being ridiculous but not in a way that screamed legal liability.  

Then came “Bolo-Gate” in season 13, which led to headlines like “Porsha Williams and Tanya Sam Allegedly Got Their Peaches Cobbled by a Long Dong Stripper on RHOA Cast Trip” before the season even started to air. Some people around the show might’ve thought they were generating attention for the show with such story plants, but by the time the actual scenes behind these stories aired, most of us didn’t care what consenting adults did off camera — making for a pretty miserable (and boring) viewing experience.

That season was widely panned for featuring a group of people with little to no chemistry doing nothing but bickering about unimportant stuff we had already heard about on the internet several months prior.

Instead of changing course then, though, RHOA continued largely as is tonally albeit with new people, and a formally old favorite friend, Marlo Hampton, finally upgraded to peach holder.

It did not help the show regain its footing, but as bad as the following season was, it was no match for the most recent edition, season 15, which yielded even more bad reviews, lower ratings, and calls for a reboot from fans

So when the network announced earlier this year that RHOA fans would be treated to something like reboot-lite, there was excitement — especially once it was announced that Porsha Williams, who had left the show in 2021, would be returning. 

According to Bravo, Porsha would be joined by Kenya Moore and Drew Sidora, the only remaining cast members from the previous season, along with newbies Shamea Morton Mwangi, Brittany Eady, Kelli Ferrell and Angela Oakley. Cynthia Bailey would also return as a friend of the housewives. 

I don’t know who half those people are, and it’s not the return of NeNe Leakes (which I know is highly unlikely), but I was happy for anything different than what I had been forcing myself to watch out of habit in recent years. 

Unfortunately, RHOA’s reboot is already showing signs of struggle. 


Porsha, who had married Simon Guobadia, the former husband of someone else who appeared on RHOA for a millisecond, filed for divorce 10 days after the announcement. While they looked happy and wealthy on Instagram less than a year ago, they beef about immigration status and liars on social media now. Meanwhile, Simon is now currently throwing out cease and desist letters to Bravo – disrupting Porsha’s return by making it incredibly difficult to film where she lives.

However, their biggest problem is Kenya Moore’s abrupt exit from the show. 

During the season 16 filming, an event was taking place at Kenya’s new hair salon, and she allegedly shared sexually explicit images of newcomer Brittany Eady. A source told Page Six that Kenya’s actions came in response to Brittany making threats using the word “gun,” which in turn made cast members feel “uncomfortable.” Eady denies this

To be clear, Kenya has denied accusations about her behavior and after footage from the event went viral, she posted to Instagram: “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. The truth always comes to light.”

Well, details have poured out, but what exactly happened depends on whom you believe. Deadline and TMZ say Kenya left on her own accord while Love B. Scott reports that following an investigation, it was determined that she violated Bravo’s code of conduct and was terminated.

I have never been the biggest Kenya Moore fan, but she has been a bright spot in a dark period of the show, and while what she’s accused of sounds terrible, I also fault the production for even allowing anything that salacious to happen on camera. They have not learned that Scarlet Letter-themed scandals aren’t the show’s salvation. 

So while Kenya continues to deny all this and says she will continue to “thrive in a non-toxic work environment.” 

I’m sure she will, but will RHOA thrive without her? 

I didn’t know that TMZ hung out in Atlanta-area grocery store parking lots, but they randomly ran into Sherée Whitfield and asked her about everything.

“I hate to see my girl Kenya go out like that,” she told them. “As an OG, it’s kind of hard to sit back and watch the show kind of slowly sink the way it is, so I’m not happy. I don’t like it.”

As for the show’s future, she said, “An OG’s presence is always welcome … always needed on the series — no matter what capacity.” 

Naturally, she said she would return to filming and filling the void left in Kenya’s absence for the “right” amount of money.

I think this show’s problems are bigger than the bone collector. They begin and end with the production, who chooses the cast and sets the tone. Perhaps this season can be salvaged, but as it stands now, it looks to be going the way of “Basketball Wives” and “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” franchises, which continue to still air but not nearly at the same stature or audience views. 

Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus, I Don’t Want To Die Poor,” and his latest essay collection, “I Finally Bought Some Jordans.”