What's the Difference Between a Friend and Guest on 'Real Housewives'?

Angie Katsanevas, Keiarna Stewart, and more started as only friends on the 'Real Housewives,' but what does that mean?

Alex West - Author

Jun. 30 2024, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

Angie Katsanevas at DIRECTV Celebrates 'Christmas at Kathy''
Source: Getty Images

Angie Katsanevas

It's no secret that the behind-the-scenes of reality television is full of business decisions and production guidance. For Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, even deciding who gets dubbed a "friend" is a point of contention.

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Fans might notice that some people who make appearances are called a "friend" of the housewives whereas others are only referred to as a "guest." This difference might seem tiny, but it definitely makes a difference to the ladies.

Real Housewives of Potomac cast member Keiarna Stewart attends the third annual Gatsby Showcase Foundation Gala
Source: Getty Images

Keiarna Stewart

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What's the difference between a friend and a guest on 'Real Housewives'?

When it comes down to it, everything on television is about money, including those cameos. Being a friend on the show awards you with a larger paycheck than simply being a guest.

Overall, they might make less than you think, though. Some of the main cast members have reported making around $5,000 per episode when their series first kicked off. Eventually, those numbers can skyrocket towards six figures.

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With that in mind, some of the friends have reported making only about $1,000 per episode to start. Guests ... probably not so much. The difference is really that the friends aren't just gracing your screen for a few seconds.

Instead, you'll notice that the friends are actively involved in the drama and storylines. They're in the friend group, a part of the beef, but they aren't necessarily the main show.

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Is it possible to get promoted from friend to housewife?

For sure! It's not uncommon to see a friend end up being a housewife in the next season. After all, if they're helping bolster ratings then it makes sense to retain them and keep them around more.

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This might also explain why some friends like to pour themselves into drama more than others. If they're staying at the center of the cattiness, then they might get a chance at a promotion later on.

In the past, around 30 housewives spent some time as a friend, like Angie Katsanevas and Keiarna Stewart. If a friend is around when a housewife exits the show, they have a better chance of getting called up to the big leagues.

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Why do housewives get demoted?

It might seem super suspicious to see your favorite housewife suddenly be listed only as a friend, but it's not always shady. In fact, it might even be a good thing for the woman.

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Being a friend on the show gives you so much more freedom. You're not tied down to the same level of contractual obligations as the housewives are, so friends have the ability to explore other projects easier.

If your favorite housewife was demoted, she might have elected to have it happen. There could be a grander plan in the making that you'll need to watch out for! After all, there is a whole wonderful world outside of the television show.

Of course, it's also possible that the network decided to make the choice for the sake of the show's ratings, too. However, we'd like to think positively and hope the demotion was more of a decision the woman made herself.

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