It goes without saying that breakout Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah’s upcoming trial on federal fraud charges will be the biggest storyline of the new season. And now that we’ve learned Jen can still film for RHOSLC Season 2 while on trial, it seems safe to expect *plenty* of coverage once the cameras roll.
But when should we expect to get the new episodes? And how will Jen’s trial affect the Season 2 premiere — either positively (meaning it gets moved up) or negatively (meaning we have to wait like a kid in line for the bathroom)?
One thing we know for sure is the date Jen’s trial is scheduled to begin. During Jen’s arraignment last week, Judge Sidney Stein set Monday, October 18 as the opening date.
Judge Stein did warn that COVID complications could force a date change. But for now, that’s when fans should expect the courtroom drama to commence.
We also know that filming for RHOSLC Season 2 has actually been underway for a few weeks. In fact, the cast — Jen included — was scheduled to leave for a trip to Vail on the day of Jen’s arrest. (And yes, in case you hadn’t heard: Bravo’s cameras did film Jen’s arrest.)
So let’s first of all dispose of the rumors that Jen Shah might get fired from the Season 2 cast. Jen was already Salt Lake City‘s biggest, most flamboyant star before getting caught masterminding an alleged $5,000,000 scheme to defraud old people. And now that her arrest has made her infamous well beyond the show, there’s simply no way Bravo is kicking her off the cast.
As multiple sites have already pointed out, October 18 is just a few weeks ahead of the one-year anniversary of RHOSLC Season 1’s debut. And we know that Bravo likes to bring out the season premiere of each Real Housewives franchise at roughly the same time every year.
RHONY, for example, has premiered in March or April every year since Season 3. RHOA debuts in November or December. Potomac generally returns in the spring; Orange County almost always comes back in the summer.
There are some recent exceptions with a few of the franchises, mostly owing to the COVID pandemic affecting filming schedules. But, for the most part, you can count on a given Real Housewives return around the same time every year.
Given The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City‘s November debut last year, then, it wouldn’t be at all out of line for the network to bump up its return by a few weeks or more.
Truthfully, I’d be surprised if Bravo didn’t push for the RHOSLC Season 2 premiere to align with the start of Jen’s trial.
Despite widespread critical acclaim and huge social media engagement, the show had surprisingly low ratings throughout Season 1. But the trial is a built-in interest booster, and Bravo will doubtless find plenty of ways to capitalize on that.
There is one variable that could throw everything else off, and that’s the upcoming Real Housewives of Miami reboot on Peacock. It’s possible, though not likely, that the new Miami will debut at the end of 2021.
However, the latest gossip is that producers are still filling out the main cast for the show. And filming remains a ways off.
So it seems more likely that RHOM will have its debut some time in 2022, well after RHOSLC’s return. Though the shows are technically on different networks, NBC — which owns both Bravo and Peacock — can’t want two of its hottest new properties fighting for the same viewers at the same time.
(Photo credits: Bravo)
John Sharp is Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. Tips: E-mail or Twitter.