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Real Housewives of New York


A day after Rob Shuter of HuffingtonPost broke the news about Bravo firing Jill Zarin, 47, Alex McCord, 37, and Kelly Bensimon, 43, it turns out he was not technically the first one to break the news.

A look at the latest issue of UsWeekly magazine, which went to press on Tuesday, reveals the mag was the first to report that the three Real Housewives of New York City listed above alongside Cindy Barshop, 47, were on the chopping block. The mag only gives a reason for Jill’s axing, stating, “They were sick of her being a diva.”

And below E! News is also confirming the firings adding that Jill and Alex are taking it the hardest. So now we have the Huffington Post, E! News, and UsWeekly reporting the firings while the fired housewives are all denying the reports. Below are the statements given by the housewives -

Jill Zarin - “Jill has not been fired from The Real Housewives of New York City. The truth is that Jill is still in discussions with Bravo for season 5 and hasn’t made a final decision about returning to the show,” says Jill’s rep.

Alex McCord - She posted the following statement yesterday: “I can confirm that I have not been ‘fired’ by BRAVO for next season’s Real Housewives of New York City. There are many rumors swirling around. Here’s the truth – Simon & I are still under consideration for season 5 & we’ll know one way or another very soon. I have to laugh at all the purported ‘insiders’ giving ‘off the record’ quotes.”

NMFF Cindy Barshop – “Everything out there right now is just rumors. Nothing is 100 [percent] decided yet, it could go either way.”

Kelly Kra-Kra’s rep also denied she had been fired. However, all signs continue to point to the reports being true! In fact E! News is reporting that Bravo informed the women Thursday morning while explaining why the network is not confirming the news in the press.

“Basically by not publicly firing them and keeping them dangling, Bravo’s bought their silence while three new women start taping the new season in two weeks,” one RHONY insider explains. “Bravo found new women. Ramona [Singer] knows these women, she introduced them to Bravo. The Countess knows two as well. They wanted real New York society women.”

The source adds that taping begins in two weeks and that if the newbies have on-screen chemistry it’s a done deal with the previous Housewives. “On the very slim chance it doesn’t work, they have these ladies on the bench waiting to come back,” the source states.

Another insider reveals that Jill and Alex are taking the news the hardest. Jill is reportedly angry and is now in defense mode on how she can spin this to tell the public she left the show and wasn’t fired. “She’ll say she wasn’t coming back. She’s saying she’s ready to move on, she wants people to think it’s her decision, saying she wants to be a business woman and not a reality star. She’s very angry at both Bravo and [network executive] Andy [Cohen.]”

As for Alex, she and husband Simon van Kempen are reportedly in shock as they didn’t see this coming. Alex’s concern is however more of a financial one as her $275,000 income from Bravo is gone.

“Alex and Simon are both shell-shocked. They didn’t see it coming, they were blindsided. They’ve heard the rumors, but they thought they wouldn’t mess with the formula that works… They’ve just lost the $275,000 income they were making for the season. When Alex and Simon were not invited to do the live shows, they knew something was up. Alex is emailing and trying to stay in Bravo’s good graces as she need the money,” says the insider.

And just moments ago, UsWeekly reported Sonja Morgan confirmed the firings to them during an event last night while also confirming her return. “I really haven’t had time to digest it properly,” Sonja, 47, said Thursday night. “My voicemail was filled up today…At first, I just thought it was the usual rumors.” Sonja adds that Bravo informed her yesterday that she was returning for the new season.

Oddly enough, none of the housewives reported to be fired can say the same. And we all know they would be tweeting/releasing public statements about had they been asked back.

In fact Rob Shuter, who hung out with Ramona Singer last night, is standing by his report as he tweeted today that both Bravo and the fired housewives are “pissed” with him for breaking the news. He also confirms what LuAnn, who has been asked back, stated this week which is that 3 to 4 new “wealthy” housewives have been cast by Bravo.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST? DO YOU THINK JILL IS BEGGING BRAVO TO TAKE HER BACK? GOOD DECISION BY BRAVO TO AXE THESE LADIES?

In today’s shocking news, the Bravo network has reportedly fired Jill Zarin, Alex McCord and Kelly Bensimon from the Real Housewives of New York City! WOW to the ZERS!

Gossip columnist Rob broke the news, tweeting minutes ago: “Breaking #RHONY Jill, Alex and Kelly are gone insiders at Bravo tell me.” Cindy’s not fired???

Rob has a close relationship with a number of the RHONY housewives so he is a pretty credible source when it comes to RHONY news. We will keep checking for more updates and bring you more news the minute it becomes available!

UPDATE - The Huffington Post (the blog Rob works for) is now reporting that Bravo informed Jill, Alex and Kelly of the news this morning. The women reportedly had no idea they were being let go.

Sources confirm the trio will not be returning as fulltime cast members next season. Further confirming the news is the report that Countess Luann de Lesseps revealed yesterday in an interview that three new ladies will be added to the cast.

Another insider adds that Bravo told Jill, Alex & Kelly that they could possibly be reinstated next season if any of the new cast members don’t work out. While the article doesn’t mention Cindy, it was reported a while back that she was also being let go.

Pretty shocking move by Bravo as even though I’m no fan of the Jillousy, I don’t think firing her is the best way to go. Jill and Ramona Singer appear to be the two biggest stars of the show and bring a certain dynamic to the series. Love them or hate them. Alex’s firing is also a big surprise. Kelly’s? Not so much and very welcomed. As I stated previously, I believe letting Cindy and Kelly go, while bringing in three new housewives would have been best.

We will continue to bring you more updates! Photo by: Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THIS NEWS? ARE YOU SHOCKED OR VERY SHOCKED? HAPPY WITH THE CHANGES?

UPDATE #2 – UsWeekly is now reporting Cindy Barshop was also fired! As for why Jill was fired, sources tell the mag Bravo got “sick of her being a diva.” So now, the only remaining housewives are Ramona, Sonja, and Countess LuAnn. The source however adds that Ramona, who is currently negotiating her new contract, might end up getting the axe if she can’t reach a deal with Bravo. “If they can’t agree, she will be off the show as well,” says the source.

For the time being, none of the fired housewives have yet to confirm the news. In fact Jill and Alex, who normally tweet up a storm all through the day, have been very quite for the last couple hours.

UPDATE #3 – All of the fired ladies parties reported to have been fired are now denying the news citing they have yet to hear it from Bravo. Jill rep tells PEOPLE: “Jill is still in discussions with Bravo for season 5 and no final decisions have been made.” Alex also tweeted minutes ago: “Speaking for myself only, there is no decision yet whether I’m in or out of #RHONY -Nothing’s finalized, though I’d like to do another year.” All interesting. Denial or are they being honest?

While the Bravo network is reportedly set to make the Real Housewives of New York City casting decision this week, two of the show’s stars are now speaking out on a number of topics.

In an interview with E! Online, Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen talk Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl scandal, the latest casting news and Russell Armstrong’s suicide.

When it comes to Bethenny (she is facing class action lawsuits over claims that her Skinnygirl drinkline is not all natural as claimed), Simon comes to her defense… sorta. “For me, there’s truth in advertising,” he told E! News. “If you’re upfront about it, there wouldn’t be scandal. I don’t think she was hiding anything at all, [but] once she sold it off, she lost a little control.”

Alex chimed in adding that Bethenny will get through it, though she is obviously “pretty peeved.”

When asked if they will be returning for another season of the RHONY, the duo echoed previously reported sentiments, which is that Bravo has yet to inform them of their decision. “We honestly don’t know,” Simon said. “You know as much as we do. We find out when everyone else does. It’s up to Bravo.”

Silex also touched on Russell Armstrong’s suicide, praising Bravo for handling it well. “We watched the first episode of Beverly Hills and I met him,” Alex stated. “There’s no great way for them [Bravo] to handle it.” Simon added, “It’s such a private thing. I thought Bravo handled it as well as they could… They either have to cancel the show or face it head on. They faced it head on.”

In other news, it seems to be pouring for Bethenny Frankel as just days after the class action lawsuits were filed against her, RadarOnline uncovered legal documents about the new home she purchased in TriBeCa, New York.

According to Radar, the docs reveal Bethenny, 40, put down $2.7 million on the four-bedroom condo and borrowed $2.3 million from Bank of America — in the form of a 30-year mortgage. The site then went on to question what happened to her reported $120 million payout if she’s taking out a mortgage. Radar also pointed out that Bethenny’s former assistant Molly was the one who signed all the paperwork.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF BETHENNY’S NEW $4.9 MIL CONDO!

Gossip columnist Rob Shuter then tweeted, “Strange! @Bethenny is in $2.3 million in debt! Got mortgage on her new apt. Where is her $120 million?” This led to outrage from Bethenny fans who defended her on twitter.

Bethenny fan @AtlantaSue2 tweeted: “@NaughtyNiceRob @Bethenny Ridiculous. A mortgage isn’t considered bad debt. It’s an investment. You look foolish tweeting this crap!” In fact, Bethenny herself then replied, “You guys are so smart. People are morons. @AtlantaSue2.”

When all is said and done, it appears taking out the $2.3 million mortgage might have been for tax benefits. Plus even though Bethenny reportedly earned over $100 million for the sale of her drinkline, it’s more than likely most of that amount will come in future payouts and/or when incentives are reached.

Photos credit: WENN

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON SILEX’S COMMENTS AND ON BETHENNY’S MORTGAGE “DRAMA” ?

In the wake of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, several of the castmembers of Real Housewives of New York City spoke to PEOPLE offering their sympathy and support to Taylor Armstrong and defending Bravo against any allegations that reality TV may have been involved in Russell’s decision to take his own life. Since the casting, apparently, hasn’t been “officially” finalized yet – I guess these ladies are doing some sucking up!

Taking a break from Pinot-ing, Ramona Singer, offered her perspective: “I think it is very tragic. But I don’t think that the reality show is to blame for his unfortunate death. I think he had problems. And it’s sad when someone has so many problems, they feel the only way they can eliminate their pain is by taking their life.”

Krazy Kelly Bensimon, also offered her support to the network paying her bills, declaring: “I would never blame it on the show.” Just like she didn’t “blame” the show for forcing her to go on Scary Island and be subjected to “systematic bullying”? Anyways, in a shocking turn, Ms. Bensimon went on to give an insightful statement about what Russell’s reasons: “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors. And no one can judge. It’s no one’s job to do that. A lot of people speculate.”

Also extending statements of support and empathy, Sonja Morgan relayed: “My heart goes out to her [Taylor] and I’m here for her. But I never intrude,” Sonja explained. “She knows I’m here, but sometimes being helpful is just staying out of someone’s business.”

Alex McCord, on the other hand, took the classy (am I allowed to use the dread “C” word to describe her?) approach – declining to comment at all, stating: “I don’t even feel comfortable talking about that publicly.”

And noticeably absent from the roster of RHoNYC castmembers speaking about the events is the Jill Zarin! Could it be… that Jill, who is rumored to be hiding out vacationing in Italy with husband, Bawby has been … dropped from the lineup?! Likely not, given that Andy Cohen is still vacationing happily instead of entering the Witness Protection Program!

Which brings me to my next bit of news, unfortunately for all us former fans, The NY Post is now reporting that Bravo is feeling skittish about involving any new housewives in the franchise – despite some attempts to recast in the hopes of including more “downtown types.” As you recall, with the exception of last season’s newbie Cindy Bore-shop, there have been no offical rumors speculating about who Bravo was considering replacing, however a source reveals: “They looked at over 30 women, and narrowed it to three [new cast members].”

But after the unexpected tragedy with Russell Armstrong, the network became nervous about shaking things up; and especially concerned about informing castmembers they were out. “The last thing they need right now are more surprises,” the source explains. “The first one to get axed is going to write a book, and these girls know the secrets of production. The show’s still working on some level, even if Bravo is tired of the story lines.”

A rep from Bravo confirms the last statement, explaining: “Production was pushed, as we are finalizing some details for the new season. The cast will be notified once shooting is about to commence.”

Soon to be fired castmember Cindy also echoed that sentiment, telling the HollywoodLife blog that Bravo will be making the casting decision this week. “Obviously nobody’s got it going down right now, but soon — probably another week everybody will know,” said Cindy late last week.

A Bravo insider reveals the network has to send a letter notifying the cast members that their options have been picked up. The women then have the choice to accept the offer. “After the girls accept, that’s when Bravo would announce season five,” the insider says. “The girls will be notified right before filming begins.”

And there you have it. I guess, Bravo already knows what to expect from the current crazy … Too bad they can’t trust that the fans are all really tired of the storylines and the ladies, as well. Perhaps if the ratings take a nosedive that will get Cohen, et al to finally wake up! Or we could always start a Twitition…

Do you think Bravo will recast any of the ladies except Cindy? Are you surprised by the network’s reaction? Will you be watching if the cast (and the subsequent storylines) remain the same?

It looks like Real Housewives of New York didn’t start filming this weekend as earlier speculated. In fact, none of the ladies know yet whether they’ll even be returning for the new season. Has anyone checked on Jill Zarin? She has to be freaking out just a tad.

Sonja Morgan took time out of her star-studded schedule to speak to the New York Post before flitting off to a party for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. And wow…throwing Sonja in with the Kardumphries–there’s a show I’d watch! But, I digress. Sonja told the Post, “None of us should be unhappy where we are. It’s really up to Bravo and what they want to do.” She continues, “If it happens, it happens. But none of us should be unhappy because of the success we’ve already earned. If I’m not back next season, it’s not bad. We’re still all stars.” Um, okay.

Bravo hasn’t given an official reason for the delay, but a rep for the network provided a statement, saying, “Production for Real Housewives of New York was pushed as we are finalizing some details for the new season. The cast will be notified once shooting is about to commence.” One can assume that the network is still dealing with the aftermath of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, hopefully trying to realign the franchise with its original premise, which was free from most of the drama and ugliness we are currently glued to multiple times a week.

Also in the wake of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tragedy, new precautions are being taken with the reality stars’ contracts. Discussing reality show contracts in general, one source tells the Huffington Post, “I’m ashamed to admit I work on a show that once had in writing that contestants agreed we could humiliate them.” The source continues, “I have even seen contracts for dating shows that say if you contract a sexual disease on the show the producers were not responsible. What’s the amazing part is that the people that go on these shows are so desperate to be famous, and have no real talent, that they actually sign these deals.” Wow.

So what do these changes mean for Bravo specifically? It potentially means that Bravo will be more stringent in enforcing a psychological testing clause already present in its contracts with those involved in the Housewives franchise. One of Bravo’s New York Housewives reveals, “We all have in our contracts that Bravo can force us to take a [psychological] test. To my knowledge nobody did, but moving forward any new cast members will for sure. This isn’t to protect the talent but rather to protect Bravo for the next time something horrid happens.” I have to say it doesn’t sound like a horrible plan. In fact, I can think of a few current Housewives they may want to consider testing…

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE RETURNING TO THE NEW YORK CAST? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING? WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE TESTED FIRST?

 

If there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to a Kelly Kra-kra Bensimon interview, it is that she is guaranteed to leave you with an epic quote or two!

In a new interview with OK Magazine, the muscular and curve-less Real Housewives of New York City star encourages women to show off their curves, you know, like she does.

“I don’t want people to be skinny. I want them to be happy and healthy and smoking hot. If you have curves show them off, and if you don’t have curves work out so you can get them,” said Kelly.

Kelly, who graces the latest cover of Shape magazine, also feels she is an inspiration to all women out there. “I think it’s really exciting for a lot of people to see someone 43 on the cover of Shape, because it’s something that they can do,” Kelly told OK!. “It’s not like I’m über thin. It’s not like I’m not eating. I eat well. I exercise a lot and I promote healthy living.”

When asked who shot her very airbrushed/almost unrecognizable cover, Kelly credits her ex-husband Gilles Bensimon. “Everytime that I do a photoshoot I always choose him, because he loves me so much and wants me to be a better version of me, which is very, very cool,” she shared. “Also he loves beautiful women and I want to be as beautiful as I can for everyone else.” The jokes just write themselves.

In a separate interview with Good Day New York, Kelly makes it clear she would like to return for another season of the RHONY citing she had a great season this year. And why wouldn’t she? She had the whole Brunette gang treating her with kids gloves while pretending she wasn’t cra cra!

“I actually had a really good time with it this year,” she said. “I mean, this was my opportunity to really, really show who I am and not be in a combative situation. It was two seasons of just constantly being berated all the time.”

We should be finding out any day now if Kelly will indeed be returning to RHONY for a new season. I personally can’t imagine Bravo would invite her back.

Photo credit: INF

TELL US – DO YOU WANT KELLY’S “CURVY” BODY? SURPRISED SHE WANTS TO RETURN FOR ANOTHER SEASON?


Housewives Hostile Takeover!

“Do mean girls grow up to be mean women?” That’s the question Real Housewives of New York City uber mean woman, Jill Zarin was asked on Joy Behar‘s show recently, where the topic was bullying among adult women. After being shown a clip of Teresa Giudice‘s infamous prostitution whore table flip, Jill commented on how “embarrassing” Teresa’s behavior was, but does admit it is “not a proud moment,” for the NJ housewife who’s flipping outburst is largely what led to her fame!

Well, I have a couple points to make here: One: Yes, Jill is an expert on mean desperate for celebrity, bullying, immature women – I mean she pretty much wrote the book on that, and Two: while Teresa is totes embarrassing, that’s a bit rich coming from the woman who’s embarrassing breakdowns and screeching fits have made her one of the least popular housewives ever. Far less popular than Mrs. Giudice!

Jill goes onto explain that the drama on Real Housewives is authentic, and often the “emotions get to you when you’re in one of these scenes,” adding “They’re not staged, but I wouldn’t be friends with some of the girls on my show had I not been cast on a reality show. We have to, sort of, travel together or be together and what really happens between us is real.”

“ … but mean girls, I wouldn’t really be friends with them, so there wouldn’t be any meanness, but sort of when you are thrown into together, these things happen.”[sic] Wait – isn’t Jill biffles with Kelly “Krazy-legs” Bensimon and [Countess] LuAnn de Lesseps? And wasn’t Jill previously friends with Bethenny Frankel and Ramona Singer before she possibly, maybe, perhaps out-mean woman’d them? Ok, that’s what I thought!

Moving on, the RHoNYC ex? stars, Jill and former? fellow castmate Alex McCord are preparing for their post-housewives careers by heavily hawking their wares. Jill’s Skweeze Couture, which is a distant second place finisher to Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl Shapewear line, recently debuted a bridal collection which: “has little blue hearts sewn into it, so you get something new and something blue, and it takes off about two inches, so everyone looks amazing.”

According to Jill, Skweeze is “projected to reach $50 million in sales by 2012,” and she has plans to add shoes, sunglasses, handbags, skin-care products, perfumes, watches, and jewelry in the near future! Beat that, Frankel! Will these two ever stop competing against each other?!

“She is really building an empire, brick by brick,” alleges a source. “She will be joining other reality stars like Jessica Simpson and Lauren Conrad.” Ok, seriously who is buying this stuff? Her mom? Bawby? Who?

Alex McCord is also branching out into product pimping now that her modeling attempts have failed and announced she will serve as President to Aluxe Home, a bedding company featuring 18 lines of bathroom towels and 24 different bedding selections – all made of 100 percent Egyptian Cotton and manufactured in Egypt.

“This new venture was cemented when we visited and inspected the factory last month to ensure that we were happy with its quality, professionalism and working standards for its employees,” Alex stated via press release.

Add this one to the list of housewives products we can all avoid and roll our eyes over! Here’s hoping it goes more successfully than Simon Van Kempen’s mean tweeting social networking or singing careers!

Can you believe Jill Zarin was asked to serve on a panel about “mean women?” Can you believe Jill thinks she is going to be selling $50M in products by next year? Delusional Much? Do you think Alex’s new “career” indicates she may be leaving RHoNYC?

It’s deja vu all over again for the Real Housewives of New York City as the Bravo network has decided to bump the show yet again.

After being bumped earlier this year in favor of the lackluster Real Housewives of Miami, Bravo has decided to delay filming on the new season of RHONY and some are now wondering if this could be related to the recent suicide of Russell Armstrong.

“We were originally meant to start filming on Labor Day,” a member of the RHONY cast tells the Huffington Post. “Then we all received an email saying we would start filming September 8th, when Fashion Week started in the city. Now we have all been notified that it has been pushed back another three weeks at least.”

The cast member adds that with the recent tragedy involving Russell, Bravo is now more hesitant to shake-up the cast fearing they might end up casting someone who’s too dark or mentally unable to handle being on a show like the Housewives.

“We expected a huge shake-up in the New York cast,” another star of the show reveals “But now, after what has happened, it might be more beneficial to proceed with the devil you know. The New York cast is certainly whacky but [for] the most part, we are all mentally stable which has to be a bigger priority at the moment than making crazy TV.”

Another source connected to production however assures E! the delay has nothing to do with Russell. “The shoot schedule for RHNYC was pushed due to production details that needed to be finalized and there is absolutely no correlation between RHNYC and RHBH production concerns,” reveals the source.

Meanwhile, whether or not Bravo decides to shake up the cast, it appears new cast member Cindy Barshop is likely done with the series.

A source confirms to the RumorFix blog that Cindy has not been invited back for another season of the Real Housewives of New York. If true, this doesn’t come as a surprise as Cindy didn’t add much to the show, was dull, and just seemed like a deer in headlights in most of her scenes. Let’s face it, she was out of her league with these women, who might or might not hold a PhD in drama!

Now if only Bravo can axe Kelly Bensimon as well. In light of the above comments, hopefully Bravo now realizes that having someone who might be mentally unstable on the show is not worth the risk.

TELL US – DO YOU THINK THE DELAY IS RELATED TO RUSSELL? SURPRISED CINDY MIGHT BE DUNZO?

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