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Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas And Kelly Dodd Not Returning To ‘RHOC’ For Season 16!

The Real Housewives of Orange County is getting a major cast shakeup next season. According to PEOPLE, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, and Kelly Dodd are not returning to the upcoming sixteenth season of the Bravo hit reality series.

A spokesperson confirmed the news to Variety about Winhand-Burke, Lyn Vargas, and Dodd’s departures. 

Shannon Storms Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter, and Emily Simpson, however, are all returning to RHOC for Season 16. They will be joined by former Housewife Heather Dubrow, who originally left the series in 2017 after five seasons. Variety adds that one or two new women will also join the cast.

Dodd joined RHOC in season 11, while Windham-Burke made her debut in season 14 and Lyn-Vargas joined the series in season 15.

Earlier this year,  Andy Cohen confirmed that the series is currently on hiatus after revealing that a cast shakeup may be in the works.

“I think that show's really important to a lot of people and it's the mothership of all the Housewives and so we just want to take our sweet time,” Cohen told E! News back in March 2021. “You know there used to be times between seasons where we'd say, 'Let's just let the Housewives live their lives and we'll call on them in a bit.' And I think we're in that period in Orange County. I think it will be good for them to live their lives and then we'll pick it back up when we need to. We've got a lot of Housewives shows going in various stages of production so the good news is there's no, we don't have to rush it to air.”

During a separate interview, Cohen shared more details about the future of the OC installment. 

“The status of “OC” right now is that we’re just taking a pause. We’re in no rush to get into production. One of the benefits of “Salt Lake City” coming out so strong out of the gate and becoming such a hit is you don’t need to be in such a rush then to get “Orange County” back, because you have more to play with,” he told Variety at that time. “And we really wanted to get back in production in “Salt Lake” when it was still winter there. It’s a stark contrast to all the other shows to see them with the mountains and the snow. So we love that aesthetic. But Orange County, Calif., is still fairly locked down.”

“So that was one issue. There were times in the past where we would say, “You know what? Let’s let the women live their lives for awhile, and see where they’re at. And see where they’re at with each other.” There’s a clear hope from the fans that there’s some kind of shake-up. And I think we’re analyzing everything. I think we just wanted to be really deliberate too,” he continued. “I mean, this is obviously the show that started everything for this franchise. And it’s really important, and it’s important that we keep getting it right. And by the way, I thought the reunion was fantastic! I think, given everything that we faced this season production-wise, it was a pretty good season. I would not say that it was the best season of “Housewives of Orange County.” But given everything we were up against, there were some killer episodes.”

He added, “Well, listen, my God! Listen: “Orange County” is going to be great.”

Heather first made her RHOC debut in 2012 during the show's seventh season. In January 2017, the mother-of-four announced that she was not returning to the Bravo reality series after five seasons.

“After a lot of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to return to RHOC this season. These past 5 years have been an incredible journey and I'm so proud to have been a part of such an iconic piece of pop culture,” Heather said in an exclusive statement to The Daily Dish at that time. “I am so grateful to Evolution Media, Bravo and the whole NBCU family for all of the incredible experiences and the opportunities RHOC has afforded me and my family. However, at this point in my life, I have decided to go in another direction and do what’s best for my family and career. Should I change my mind, I thank Andy Cohen, Evolution and Bravo for telling me that the door is always open.”


Photo Credit: Bravo Media/NBCUniversal (3)