The busiest man in reality television, and our lord and savior, Andy Cohen, has evolved from a behind the scenes player and “that dude who hosted the reunion show” to a full-fledged celeb in his own right, and is poised to become even more well-known now that his quirky talk show Watch What Happens Live is now on a whole five nights a week.
There’s no doubt Andy played a huge role in Bravo’s transformation from obscure basic cable network to one of the nation’s main suppliers of rich people drama and D-listers. While he’ll be putting in much more time on-camera these days that doesn’t mean he’ll be abandoning his role as Executive Producer, telling the Hollywood Reporter that he’ll “remain in charge of all development and talent” (his use of the word talent makes me think of Andy as a Barbizon modeling agent!) and will remain an executive producer of Top Chefand all iterations of Real Housewives.
While he admits that this will remove “twenty something” odd shows from his workload, he is still very involved in a few projects featuring stars Bravo basically created including Jeff LewisandBethenny Frankel: “Jeff Lewis has an incredible new show coming on, Interior Therapy, we’re in post on that show, I can’t imagine stopping watching rough cuts of that show. I’m very invested in it and I want it to be right. I just got two new episodes of Bethenny Frankel’s new show today, I’m seven in already, and I probably want to finish that season out. So, there’s a lot of work that I feel I will probably continue doing.”
Given the success of the shows Andy has had his hand in, we doubt his bosses at Bravo would want him to stop producing shows, either. His influence can definitely be felt in other shows, especially with his crown jewels — Real Housewives and Top Chef; he admits to THR that there are “at least 25 Housewives rip off shows right now.”
Speaking of the Housewives, in a separate interview with Wetpaint, Andy lets Jill Zarinfinally score a point in the ongoing media war that is her existence by giving her credit for finding Bethenny and Ramona Singer onReal Housewives of New York, saying “Jill helped us cast Bethenny and Ramona. She absolutely did.”
Andy, however, makes it clear that he doesn’t believe Jill deserves a commission for that. If you recall, Jill revealed last week that she wanted a finder’s fee for discovering Bethenny. “I don’t get a commission for it,” said Andy. “She’s done very well from the show, so that’s her commission. But she did [help cast them]. She absolutely can take credit for finding Bethenny and Ramona.”
He also stands by his decision to let Jill go, along with her co-stars Alex McCordand Kelly Bensimon, claiming, as Jill has probably said to her daughter hundreds of times, that its for the show’s own good: “And I just think, whether the ratings are down this season or up, for the long-term health of the New York Housewives, we did the right thing.”
TELL US: ARE YOU ENJOYING THE DAILY EDITIONS OF WATCH WHAT HAPPENS? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE HOUSEWIVES RIP-OFF SHOWS? DO YOU THINK JILL ZARIN DESERVES COMMISSION FOR FINDING BETHENNY AND RAMONA? IS ANDY COHEN YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR?
Even more horrific, if all works out for Jill, the show will be on FOX a.k.a. a major network. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news yesterday with sources telling the site FOX is in talks with Jill about her own show to be tentatively titled The Beverly Jillbillies.
Jill’s show will be based on her move to Los Angeles to build her own fashion empire. The show’s producers and FOX declined to comment on the news, while Jill has recently admitted she is currently house-hunting in Los Angeles. Let’s not count those eggs before they hatch now Jill!
Since being fired by Bravo last September, Jill has continued to leak out stories stories have continued to magically appear on blogs about Jill getting a spinoff. I’m, however, having major doubts that Jill will get a show at least not on FOX as most major non-cable networks tend to shy away from personal reality shows instead focusing on more competition based reality shows such as American Idol, Survivor, etc.
Moving on to some not so scary news as another report is stating Ramona Singer wants in on the Celebrity Apprentice action! Okay maybe this is just as scary as the previous story.
A source reveals to amNewYork that Ramona is “trying to convince” Donald Trump to cast her in the next season of his NBC show. Ramona, never one to shy away from an awkward public moment, even brought up the idea to The Donald while she attended a recent function with him in Florida days ago.
“Ramona says that if ["Real Housewives of New Jersey" star] Teresa Giudice can compete, then Ramona most certainly can,” the source said.
Well, she does have that whole crazy, unpredictable and combative housewife flare down so perhaps she is a perfect fit for the show afterall!
[Photos Credit: WENN]
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON JILL POSSIBLY GETTING A SHOW ON FOX? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RAMONA ON CELEBRITY APPRENTICE?
For reasons that are hard to comprehend, she is still being featured in the press and giving interviews holding on to her very last threads of relevance by slamming her former co-workers at every opportunity.
Radar features a piece with several choice quotes from Jill, where she insists that the show is nothing without her: “Now that I’m not there, who is going to hold court this season? None of the new women knew each other before they were cast. I know if I were there, I could make people feel comfortable.”
If by making people feel comfortable, you mean loudly picking fights at every opportunity, then sure, Jill, you could have made rumored new cast members Carole Radziwill,Heather Thomson andAviva Drescherfeel right at home in the Real Housewives family!
Since she apparently ran out of things to say about her feud with former BFF Bethenny Frankel, Jill set her sights on slamming former frenemy Ramona Singer.
“No one cares about Ramona Singer anymore,” Jill rants about her former costar. “I’ve heard the new cast members are not happy with her. Ramona planted that ridiculous story about me borrowing clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue and returning them worn. But I’m having a huge party there in February, so Ramona is the one who looks like the idiot.”
While we are sure *someone* cares about Ramona, there is probably some truth to the statement that Ramona is fighting with the other ladies. Ramona, as we all remember, has had a fight with all of her cast mates at one point or another.
Not one to take anything sitting down (or without a glass of wine), Ramona tells Wetpaint Entertainment that, “Jill is delusional. And needs a reality check — no pun intended.”
Delusional or not, Jill is doing just fine for herself these days, proudly showing off a $19,000 ring once worn by Elizabeth Taylor to the TMZ cameras last week that husband Bawby Zarin gifted her for their 11th wedding anniversary. While Jill may say she’s happy going back to being just another New York wife, we think she misses the cameras much more often than she will ever admit to.
A picture of Jill’s $19K ring is below! The NY Daily News is now reporting that Jill’s pricey purchase has inspired her to start her own jewelry line, which will debut in time for Valentine’s Day. How convenient.
I think it’s fair to say that Jill Zarin, former Real Housewives of New York cast member, is having a hard time letting go. Since she was abruptly fired last year Jill has given countless interviews about leaving the show and how much she loves being away from the cameras. And we’re not believing it for a second!
In the latest, Jill did a sit-down with The Hollywood Reporter and gave an explosive testimonial about what it’s really like to be a part of Reality TV and offered up some pretty shocking behind the scenes details about Bravo and the show. Now that she’s not under contract she has nothing to lose and good — because I love a juicy story!
When asked why she was let go from the cast Jill explains she still has no idea and swears that Bravo was stringing her and fellow fired Housewives along before finally issuing the pink slip.
“First off, I like to say I was fired because I’m not embarrassed about it. I didn’t do anything wrong, so I really don’t know why they fired us and kept the other girls.”
“We were told that they wanted to begin season five filming over Labor Day, so the other ladies and I were preparing story lines, basically putting our lives on hold until shooting. In June, it wasn’t even a question if they were inviting me back. By August, conversations started to change. They were hesitant to commit and delayed the announcement. Then I got a call the Wednesday after Labor Day that Bravo decided to bring back LuAnn [de Lesseps], Sonja [Morgan]and Ramona [Singer], but the rest would not be decided until the end of the week.”
“I’m smart enough to know that they were putting out contracts to new girls, and whether they signed would determine our fate. So, at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night I get a phone call from my producer, and she told me that Bravo had made the decision to let the four of us go.”
“I was upset because I was told to put my life on hold,” Jill explains. “But I didn’t argue, I wasn’t going to try to sell anyone. I said, ” ‘OK. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.’ ”
“Andy Cohencalled shortly after, which I’m sure was a difficult thing to do. He gave me the respect I deserved considering I committed four years of my life to the show. He said they wanted the series to go in a different direction and that last season ended very dark — which I find ironic because they could have controlled that. I filmed many happy scenes that the network canned.”
Very interesting as fans of RHONY and others in the Housewives franchise have been begging for the shows to return to their original intent of happy and fun-loving docu-dramas about wealthy women and their lives. Is Bravo really deciding not to air that kind of footage in lieu of footage with high drama content?
Jill continues by explaining that Bravo’s decision to let her go had absolutely nothing to do with reports that she requested a higher salary to continue filming. “First of all, we were finally making a decent amount of money last season. That was never a concern,” Jill states, saying it is “absolutely untrue” that salary disputes occurred.
“They’re getting a lot of money now, so that’s another thing I’m disappointed about. I didn’t get to make the money I feel I deserved. I didn’t just help make the show popular; I cast it,” Jill shockingly reveals.
Jill goes onto claim that she was responsible for bringing in Bethenny Frankel (her then close friend), which is common knowledge and possibly alleges that Bravo should have paid her a finders fee of sorts. “I brought in Bethenny, and I don’t get a percentage of anything she spins off. The first, second and third season salary pretty much added up to the fourth season. I worked really hard.”
This leads me to wonder if other Housewives receive percentages of earnings as rewards for adding to the casts. I doubt this very much, but it is a possibility. Bravo has readily admitted that Kyle Richards was the first woman cast to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and she introduced the other women to producers and assembled the majority of women that were eventually hired — even her season one nemesis Camille Grammer.
When asked if the show is scripted Jill describes that, of course, editing plays a huge part in what viewers see. “It’s a TV show, not a documentary. It’s not scripted, but it is edited. It doesn’t mean we didn’t live it, it just means they focus on a particular storyline.”
Also, Jill point blank accuses Bravo of manipulating scenes and circumstances to build plot lines! “With New Jersey, they were brilliant to film season four before season three aired. They had to. Bravo had no delusions that they set up Teresa [Giudice]by hiring her sister-in-law and cousin without letting her know. It’s understandable Teresa would be upset. The show couldn’t film now: Teresa and Caroline [Manzo]won’t even be in the same room, and Jacqueline [Laurita] quit. As a cast, they’re kaput.”
As for what she is up to now that she is done with Housewives, Jill is not leaving television in the dust as she is working to secure other deals in the medium. “My husband and I were recently in L.A. for meetings about a potential television opportunity. And now I finally have the freedom to do that.”
Jill insists that the NBC-owned Bravo kept their Housewives under close watch and did not allow them to branch out into other networks — even to promote products which the network takes a percentage of. “That’s the one thing Bravo would never give us: the ability to appear elsewhere. Before, I could never appear on another network. We couldn’t even do Good Morning America, we had to do Today, even if it was to promote our brands. They were very controlling,” Jill reveals.
“In hindsight, it would have been smarter for them to do a development deal with me. I would have been stupid enough to let them build my ego and give me a deal for no money that would lock me to the network.”
Even though Jill has scathing things to say about the network that paid her bills for four years she is still happy she did the show. “The show made women in their 40s and 50s relevant again. Hollywood is all about young girls, and this was an opportunity that didn’t require us to be young and beautiful. It’s real women.” Well, somewhat…
“But I won’t miss the lying and the fighting,” Jill discloses. “And I won’t miss the stress over clothes. I had to have 80 outfits for the season, and I would totally stress over that.”
Wow pretty good stuff! I have to say being part of the Housewives franchise sounds incredibly stressful and complicated and I’d rather be a viewer than a participant!
Moving on, current RHONY cast member Pinot Singer spent her holidays on the island of St. Martin with her husband Mario and daughter Avery. Photos of the family vacation are below! They look happy and relaxed and I’m jealous! I wonder if she toted along any Ramona Singer Pinot Grigio?
[Photo Credit: PNP/ WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON JILL’S EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION ABOUT BRAVO AND RHONY? ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT BRAVO IS SO CONTROLLING OF IT’S HOUSEWIVES?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE PHOTOS OF RAMONA ON VACATION!
Below,Taylor Armstrong is pictured with Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino, Kyle Richards attends a Disney event, Camille Grammer steps out with her boyfriend! Countess LuAnn and Sonja Morgan attend an event, Lisa Vanderpump and her white Bentley! Plus more photos of Kathy Wakile, Rachel Zoe& more!
Also belowKim Kardashian and her family attend the opening of their new store in Las Vegas, and Khloe Kardashian cheers on Lamar in Dallas, Patti Stanger steps out! Plus Maksim, Holly Madison,& more!
[Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky/Davekotinsky.com]
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE ALL THE PHOTOS!
Jill Zarin loves her some media attention! Nary a day goes by without Jill getting some press or giving an interview. And sure she is spreading the word about Skweeze Couture, but for someone who claims to be over her appearance on Real Housewives of New York she has a difficult time not talking about it! I guess it is her claim to fame…
In the latest, Jill spoke to Rob Shuter via his HDNet show Naught But Nice With Rob and talked about how she’s changed since leaving the show. “Whatever I say no one will believe me, but I never lie. I am so happy to be off that show,” Jill starts off by saying, adding that she’s sad to lose her paycheck!
As to what’s different now that she is no longer beholden to Bravo, Jill insists she’s back to being “me”. “I got my happy back,” she explains. “I didn’t realize it when I was in it, but I think I became like a monster to the people around me because I was under so much stress.”
Jill goes on to describe the filming process as leaving the ladies “strung out,” due to stress. “It just takes so much energy; this manipulation, of trying to figure out whose team you’re on and who’s your friend and who’s your enemy. It just sucks up all the air in the room,” Jill elaborates.
To illustrate how happy she is, Jill explains that at a recent dinner party for her birthday (which was attended by maybe “life-long” friend Kelly Bensimon) her guests kept telling Jill how much she’s “changed,” with her friends mentioning that she was calm and relaxed. Former cast mate LuAnn de Lesseps was also due to attend Jill’s birthday, but arrived too late because of a scheduled filming.
Jill also mentioned her plans to film her own reality show, claiming it will be filled with less drama! But the question is will there be any takers?
“There won’t be any puppeteers pulling strings to make fights, and there won’t be jealousy,” explained Jill. “There wont be those kinds of things that change who people are. I just really want to do my own thing. I just really want to be with my family. I had a lot of anxiety. I had no control and I’m a little bit of a control freak.”
While the world awaits the verdict on whether any network will pick up Jill’s proposed show, she will be returning to TV on Dec. 25, as a judge on “Iron Chef” alongside Art Smith.
In other RHONY news, Jill may not miss being part of the cast but it seems her former cast mates certainly miss her, surprisingly. “It’s different. The girls are different so it’s a totally different experience,” LuAnn said, speaking to HollywoodLife. ”I always miss the girls. We worked a long time together. You miss people you’re comfortable with.”
Ramona Singer agreed, commenting: “It’s sad not to have all the girls that I grew up on the show with. We all did this together. But change can be good.” Admitting that she misses fellow blonde Alex McCord the most, Ramona promised the upcoming season will still be good! While she isn’t revealing who’s in and who’s out as far as casting, saying: “We’re not allowed to talk about the new girls,” Ramona promises, “It’s going to be a great show [though].”
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JILL IS HAPPY TO BE AWAY FROM RHONY? ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT SHE ADMITTED THE SHOW TURNED HER INTO A MONSTER? DO YOU THINK RAMONA AND LUANN REALLY MISS THEIR FORMER CO-STARS?
Also over the weekend, Huffington Post gossip columnist Rob Shuter, who first broke the news about the RHONY firings back in September, revealed filming is NOT going well on the new season. Apparently there is a lack of drama and Bravo is expected to make some more casting changes! Ai ya ya.
Rob tweeted: “Sad to fear filming on #RHONY not going well. Ladies have travelled to London and Miami to spice it up. Expect more cast changes!”
Indeed, this Miami trip is the second for the housewives as they just took a trip to London not too long ago without Ramona. I can’t say I’m really surprised to hear this news as I stated back in September that getting rid of Jill Zarin was a bad idea. As much as I’m not a fan of Jill, she is equivalent to a Nene Leakes and makes for good TV drama.
I believe getting rid of Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop, while leaving Jill and Alex McCord on the cast and adding 2 to 3 new cast members would have done the trick. While I definitely agree the last season and the reunion got overly nasty and downright ugly, I think Bravo’s firings were a bit too drastic.
Andy Cohenstated back then that the firings were simply giving fans what they wanted. “In the end we listened to the fans, who expressed a desire for new stories and a major change in a direction,” said Andy. But will the fans continue to tune in without enough drama is now the question.
The Huffington Post is also reporting today that Bravo has yet to ask any of the fired housewives to return though the network did discuss having Alex make appearances on the new season right after she was fired. However, Alex reveals she declined Bravo’s offer.
“Before filming began, Bravo and I discussed me making cameos throughout the fifth season,” Alex reveals. “Eventually, I decided against it. I didn’t want to be the backup if things didn’t work out with any of the new girls.” A bit surprised but good for Alex!
[Photos Credit: Pichichi / Splash News]
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE BIKINI PICS? PLUS ARE YOU SURPRISED TO HEAR FILMING IS NOT GOING WELL?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE MORE PHOTOS!
Ramona, who as we know, hawks quite a few products was recently honored at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as the 2011 Mogul of the Year. Whoa — So, that uh constant Pinot advertising has apparently paid off! A photo of Ramona receiving her award is below.
And to celebrate her success, Ramona did a sit-down with Celebuzz about what it’s like in Pinot-land! Some excerpts from the interview are below!
Do you see yourself as a role model for women?
I actually say, for my daughter [Avery], I’m probably killing her as a role model. We actually discussed this. When I first started the show, I already had my own business for 20 years; I was already self made. Being on the show got my creative juices going, and I said, Let me show my daughter first-hand how you can start up a business. And then another business started, and another business started, and I realized that maybe now I’m raising the bar too high for her – or even for myself! [Laughs]
Did any of the Housewives attend the ceremony with you?
Yes, actually. I had Sonja [Morgan] there, who is my good friend on and off the show, and I had several other Housewives [there] whose whose names can’t be mentioned yet, I don’t think. But we did film it for the show, yes. *(The other Housewives are allegedly Carole Radziwill,Heather Thomson andAviva Drescher).
Did everyone get along?
You know what? We all get along at times and we all don’t get along at times. That’s what happens in life, right?
The Real Housewives of New York City made a lot of headlines when it was announced that Jill Zarin, Cindy Bishop,Alex McCord and Kelly Bensimon would not be returning next season. Has the dynamic of the show changed following their departure?
Obviously, filming the show this season with people not being on that were there last season, and with some other new people [on this season], the dynamics change. I think change is good. I embrace change.
How did you react when you heard the news?
It was a double-edged sword. Part of me was saying, Oh my gosh, It’s going to be sad not to have everyone together again. But the other part of me embraces change. I’m always changing. I’ve changed my businesses, my career, constantly, and I think change is good.
Do you keep in touch with any of the former Housewives?
Alex. Alex and I are still friends.
The show has become known for its big trips. Will there be another trip this season?
We always go on a trip; we’re always going on a trip.
Beyond the Stevie Awards, what will we see from you this season?
Basically, you are going to see me as woman who I think really, truly has it all. I have a marriage going on 20 years. [My husband Mario] is filming more with me this year, and you’ll see how, 20 years later, we still have this love and attraction for each other, and it’s just really wonderful. You’ll see my daughter [Avery] … She’s [now] a junior in high school. She is the apple of my eye, she is just beyond blossoming and she’s just successful in every way … And just my entrepreneurialness and trying to help women. A lot of women are now seeking me out to say, “How can I start my own business?”. I gave a class at the Learning Annex [on] having it all, how I started my business, how anyone can start a business. And I had no connections; I did it with me, myself and I. So, if I can do it, anybody can do it.
Interestingly in the interview Ramona confronted myths that Sonja and her are feuding and that none of her cast mates get along with her; mentioning that they attended the Stevie Awards — although the fact that they filmed it for the show means the other ladies may have been required to attend whether they wanted to or not!
Additionally, Ramona reveals that we can expect the new season to premiere in Spring or Summer of 2012 and she has big plans to branch out into clothing design! Ramona Couture, anyone?
And in other Housewives, well NON-Housewives news, Kelly had a chat with AVENUE magazine about life post-Housewives and she has babies on the brain!
“I definitely do want to have a baby boy,” the 43-year-old Kelly reveals in a sneak peak of the interview featured on RadarOnline. “I definitely want to get married again. I have always wanted to be married. I’ve always wanted to be a wife.”
Kelly is currently divorced from famed photographer Gilles Bensimon who is also the father of her two daughters, Sea and Teddy. Kelly describes her relationship with Gilles, who lives “down the street” from her, as “great” although has no intention of rekindling things “Look, do I want to be married to Gilles? No. Do I adore the ground he walks on? Yes.”
If you really, really want to hear more of what Kelly has to say AVENUE is out on newsstands Dec 5. A sample of Kelly’s photo shoot for the mag is below. She looks good, albeit incredibly photoshopped!
REACTIONS TO RAMONA’S INTERVIEW AND HER COMMENTS ON THE UPCOMING SEASON? DO YOU BELIEVE RAMONA AND SONJA ARE FEUDING? THOUGHTS ON KELLY’S DESIRE TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN?