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Real Housewives of New York

Despite the fact she was let go from Real Housewives of New York City, our little redhead Jill Zarin refuses to go away!

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 and Aviva Drescher feel 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.

[Photos Credit: WENN]

TELL US: DO YOU THINK JILL WAS THE GLUE THAT HELD RHONY TOGETHER? OR IS SHE, AS RAMONA SAID, DELUSIONAL? ARE YOU EXCITED TO WATCH A RHONY THAT IS JILL ZARIN FREE?

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE JILL’S $19,000 RING!


I think it’s fair to say that the Real Housewives franchise has changed television. The intensely popular shows that prove to us that anyone can be a trashy trainwreck — regardless of marriage partner, pedigree or income bracket — have become one of the most discussed and hotly debated things on television. Indeed, the shows have become a must watch for millions of people worldwide captivating real housewives and celebrities alike. Even Oprah admits to watching!

The real question is — Why? Why are we so drawn to the dysfunction, the orchestrated drama and the opportunity to observe women embarrass themselves and ruin their lives on national television? The even bigger question is: How much of this is reality at all?

The Hollywood Reporter set out to answer just those questions in an in-depth investigation into “the guiltiest pleasure on television” which is worth an estimated half-billion dollars to the NBC-Universal network. Putting together a group of ladies they refer to as the Housewives All-Stars (their version – not mine), the legendary entertainment magazine interviewed producers, insiders, Andy Cohen and the ladies themselves to figure out just why we watch and why the women participate.

“People want to watch rich girls behaving badly,” explains Linda Ong, president of brand strategy adviser Truth Consulting. “The franchise started as a real-life Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous but became this cultural analysis after the economic breakdown. Every town became a sociological experiment, a very real-time reflection of what was happening to the 1 percent.”

“We wanted something very authentic and they started to film something Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque,” Frances Berwick, president of Bravo and Style Media, explains of how Real Housewives of Orange County was developed. “It required a whole revision, so we came to a point where we had to decide whether to sink more money into it or just pull the plug.” Obviously money was sunk.

Housewives was originally supposed to be a film — a real documentary — of the gated community where RHOC is filmed. Entrepreneur Scott Dunlap set out to capture the lives of rich women in the affluent suburb of LA after observing his friends while attending a dinner party in the exclusive Coto community. “Everyone was sitting around the table, the ladies blinged-out, talking about family vacations to Tuscany and all bloviating the same thing: ‘Our life is perfect,’ ” he remembers.

The film never got made, but a decade later Scott eventually turned the idea into a reality show and it became a surprise hit in its very first season. Berwick, who had just green lit the surprisingly successful Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, was in good graces with the network and they decided to take a gamble on the Housewives show with her encouragement.

After reshooting the first few episodes and an “incredibly, incredibly long edit,” the show finally went on the air. “It was an experiment,” a network insider concedes. “They weren’t envisioning this huge franchise; the network was just trying to depict a lifestyle. They didn’t put a lot of advertising or money into it at first.” Shockingly, the show took off with the difficult to reach 30-something viewers the network coveted. Viewers who were still young, hip, and influential, but who had money, education, and technical know-how.

The network immediately signed on for a second season, but decided to hire drama based veteran reality producer Doug Ross who has helmed shows such as Fear Factor and Big Brother. “Scott did a great job at identifying killer cast members,” Ross explains “but the network thought with the help of some ‘grown-ups’ this thing could really blossom.”

Bravo had been working on a show called Manhattan Moms, which was the inception for Real Housewives of New York. The series was originally supposed to be about wealthy NYC moms trying to get their children into ultra elite private schools. With RHOC bringing in ratings Manhattan Moms quickly transformed into RHONY. It was at that point that Zalanick decided to turn Housewives into a franchise. Since most of the season had already been filmed the network and it’s production company, Shed Media, decided to simply go with the footage they had.

The network didn’t even tell the cast members (then Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, Alex McCord, and Ramona Singer) about concept change. “We went to check out the artwork on the computer and it said Real Housewives of New York City,” Jill describes. “At first we were a little disappointed, to be honest.” How Bethenny Frankel was added I don’t know, but it was her vision to use the show to promote her business that changed the format completely. Thanks B — because of you we have the Bravo Home Shopping Network!

After the first season success of RHONY, Real Housewives of Atlanta and Real Housewives of New Jersey cropped up shortly thereafter. “Bravo unwittingly had stumbled upon television’s next guilty pleasure: a vehicle that showcased the lives of a handful of spoiled, consistently imperfect women whose only real distinction was the city in which they reside — and their unerring ability to behave badly.” With the premiere of RHONJ (now arguably the most hotly contested of the franchise) Bravo was able to capture more than just the 30-something audience and gained fans across all age ranges — including men and older viewers.

And casting is at the nexus of the franchise’s success. Bravo has shown a ruthless ability to let go of stars that no longer agree with their vision — hence the firing of four members of RHONY including original cast members Jill and Alex. They also seem to have an innate ability to locate women whose propensity for drama will result in big ratings. Teresa Giudice, anyone? And to keep the perspectives fresh, Bravo regularly adds new Housewives into the mix.

The real shocker (or perhaps not so real shocker to regular viewers) is the requirement for the women to craft their own storylines. “We started meeting with producers to discuss storylines,” former Housewife Peggy Tanous reveals. “I started getting anxiety thinking about all the forced drama that does happen on occasion.”

Peggy starred in one season of RHOC which featured a season finale argument with her former close friend (and the woman who got her scouted for the show) Alexis Bellino. Peggy has cited the end of this friendship and the contrived storylines as her reason for deciding not to sign on for a season two. While that may be the case, shortly after Peggy resigned (or was let go), news surfaced of her family’s financial distress.

Doug Ross contends that the producers in no way stage scenes or fabricate drama, “The audience could sniff that a mile away, so why even bother?” Although he does admit that the women are expected to plan events expressly for filming purposes.

Shed Media’s Maureen O’Connell agrees, “Honestly, sometimes I wish they would do what I tell them. I wish I had that kind of puppeteering power. But it’s the women who ultimately drive the train.” The responsibility of keeping the drama alive is an important one because drama = popularity with fans (sometimes) = ratings = maintaining their position in the cast roster and well, their paycheck.

But are they taking it too far? Since the franchise’s inception it’s bared witness to countless financial crisis (foreclosures, bankruptcy, tax evasion, etc), the destruction of friendships, arrest, divorce, murder (Kandi Burruss‘ fiance was in a fight, resulting in his death, outside an Atlanta strip club in 2009), alcoholism, family strife and now domestic abuse and suicide. Yet — the women and the viewers keep coming back.

On the converse, the cameras have also captured the good: friendships, marriage, love, pregnancy, incredible financial gains and business opportunity. Andy thinks the network is more than conscientious of the colorful cast of characters that pay his bills and garnered him his own TV fame in the form of Watch What Happens Live. “I have a deep responsibility to the women,” Andy insists. “And I take that very seriously.”

Some disagree. It was the suicide of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast mate Taylor Armstrong‘s estranged husband Russell Armstrong this past summer that caused fans, viewers and the media to question just what the reality of filming the show entailed. Particularly after reports surfaced that Bravo and NBC may have encouraged Taylor to file for divorce from Russell to remain on the show.

Bravo and Andy had questioned whether or not to air the footage from this past season featuring Russell and there was news of re-editing to present a softer storyline. Obviously that did not happen. “We talked endlessly,” Andy acknowledges. “In the end, we decided to capture what happened as sensitively as we could.” It seems that ultimately the network has decided not to feature Russell’s death in the storyline. The season ends Jan 23rd and no mention of it has been made.

Defending his position — and the network’s — Andy reminds viewers that the women agree to participate and the producers are not responsible for the issues that arise during filming. “Look, this franchise is a documentation of a period in these people’s lives. All of these women have stories to tell and some are dealing with some really serious issues.”

Despite the bad taste such episodes have left in viewers mouths the ratings continue to grow (the season premiere episode of RHOBH was up 42% from the series first season premiere) and show no signs of slowing down. It is Bravo’s ability to bring the constant and unexpected drama — a White House crashing, a huge family blow out at a Christening — that keeps viewers unable to look away, not knowing what there is to expect next.

Additionally, it is the women themselves that keep the drama happening and their decisions to return season after season, year after year. The reason is likely money. Jill even recently admitted that she was sad to be off the show because of the paycheck it generated.

And just how much money do the women make to expose their lives to the non-stop drama? A Lot. A lot, a lot. Particularly given the opportunity to develop their own brands — which is encouraged — and have the ability and support to promote these brands on the show which reaches huge audiences. All earnings from which the network takes a percentage of.

“Combined, the Housewives have published more than a dozen books; received product deals from makeup and jewelry to sex toys and alcohol; average well over 100,000 Twitter followers (Atlanta‘s Leakes has nearly 600,000); and receive an approximate six-figure salary each season (the New York cast is drawing a $250,000 payday for season five) — not movie-star money, but steady income for people arguably of limited talent.”

The desire for that success and the monetary wealth that comes with it is sometimes all-consuming. At this particular behind the scenes shoot, Housewives All Star Pinot Singer spent the whole afternoon hawking her pinot grigio line, advertising it to anyone who would listen and scaring off her fellow Housewives. I think it’s fair to say Ramona has a one-track mind.

Ramona was brought to the attention of producers by her then friend Jill, but she wasn’t interested. “By age 39, I already had $1 million cash in the bank,” Ramona dishes, grabbing a bottle of what else? – Pinot! “I said, ‘I’m sorry, but no thank you. I don’t have time. I don’t need to be famous.’ ” She gave it a second thought after the producers convinced her it would be a good platform for her business, True Faith Jewelry. And after five years on the successful series and the development of her own Pinot, Ramona is hoping to follow in Bethenny’s footsteps and nab her own spin off. Seriously? No.

“I’m already thinking ahead,” Ramona reveals. “Initially I thought I wanted to do something like [advertising executive and TV host] Donnie Deutsch and actually visit companies looking for help. I can’t just sit on a couch.” I’m guessing that means she wants to try a Tabatha Coffey approach…

Not all the drama is caught on camera – backstage at THR’s exclusive photoshoot with the RHOBH’s Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards were overheard talking. “One of the girls asked me what I think of Brandi [Glanville],” Lisa whispers loudly to Kyle, while Brandi sits alone pretending to ignore them. “And I said, ‘Who?’ ” Then the two friends burst into laughter. Yeah, Brandi doesn’t fit in – that’s obvious, but why so mean ladies? I expect more from Lisa.

Andy insists the show has no malicious intent, and after all the characters drive the storyline. And the viewers are obviously liking what they see since they return season after season. “It’s good, clean fun,” he asserts. “Its like eating a bowl of no-cal popcorn; guilt-free gossip. You can watch it, you can talk about it with your friends and, at the end of the day, you can feel better about yourself and your life.” Right… I’m not sure I agree.

Below is a video of the Housewives All Star shoots featuring NeNe Leakes, Caroline Manzo, Vicki Gunvalson, Ramona and the entire cast (plus Dana Wilkey and Andy) of RHOBH! Also below are photos from the RHOBH shoot!

THOUGHTS ON THE EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION UNCOVERED? DO YOU BELIEVE BRAVO IS SO HANDS OFF IN CREATING DRAMA?

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO WATCH THE BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO!


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 Cohen called 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.

This could be the real reason none of the Housewives are ever cast on the ABC show Dancing With The Stars and instead are recruited for fellow NBC show Celebrity Apprentice!

“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!


Sonja Morgan, the sex-crazed Real Housewives of New York star recently got the opportunity of a lifetime. The Bravolebrity was tapped to play hostess to firefighter models from Nation’s Bravest for Rusk’s “Being Sexy” Product Sneak-Preview! Sonja also promises that the upcoming season of RHONY will be the best yet. I’ll believe it when I see it!

It’s no surprise that Sonja was thrilled at the opportunity to ogle some hottie firefighters. “I have worked over the years with Katherine Kostreva who produces the charitable calendar featuring the nation’s sexiest firemen,” Sonja informed OK Magazine. “I once attended an event of hers with local FDNY firefighters to benefit the ASPCA, a charity near and dear to my heart. I support animals, artists, the LGBT and children. I also admire what these men do to keep our families safe and let’s be honest… they are HOT!” Indeed, that’s the important thing!

And since Sonja is ALLLL about sex, she shared what’s sexy to her. “Intelligence, confidence, power, humility, sense of humor and an ability to take care of his home.”

As for how Housewives is going with the new additions, Sonja is excited for the new season which is currently filming. “Every season is so different because our lives are rapidly changing at all times,” she explained. “This season will be the best season ever. TRUST ME!”

Sonja also shared that she spent her holiday vacationing in Palm Beach, Fl. Lucky lady!

Speaking of holidays, Jill Zarin apparently survived a power outage by the light of her Menora! While she was vacationing in Aruba a Christmas day blackout at the Aruba Surf Club Marriott caused her to grab the candelabra she packed for Hanukkah celebrations and light up!

“My Hanukkah menorah saved me.” Jill told the NY Post, “I have the craziest stories. It’s unfortunate that the cameras don’t follow me anymore.” Right — didn’t she just say in a recent interview that being on reality show turned her into a “monster“?

Jill said she put the emergency lighting in her grandchildrens’ room so they wouldn’t be in the dark. Sadly for Jill the power outage prevented her from hearing her name announced as a guest judge on Top Chef! “I couldn’t even watch myself on ‘Top Chef,’ ” Jill lamented.

Wait — Why exactly is she judging Top Chef? Does this mean La Zarin will be judging this season’s finale? Say it ain’t so!

[Photo Credits: WENN.com]

DO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE THE BEST SEASON YET OF RHONY? WHAT ON EARTH IS JILL DOING JUDGING TOP CHEF?


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?


Casting drama is nothing new for Real Housewives of New York. In the latest upset to plague the show, a potential new Housewife was given the axe after her husband was charged with investment fraud. But why? It makes for such interesting television!

The NY Post is reporting that Annie Churchill was on a short list of contenders to be added to the newly revamped Season 5 cast when producers discovered a dirty little secret; her husband Andrew Albert was arrested and charged with grand larceny and fraud after several investors accused him of using over $600,000 collected for a proposed online-shopping website for personal expenses. Wow! Here comes the NY version of Taylor Armstrong!

According to sources the network made the decision to avoid mingling with anyone else facing criminal charges given Russell Armstrong‘s recent suicide, thus Annie was given the boot. Michael Farkas a lawyer for Andrew confirmed that Bravo decided not cast Annie in the wake of what happened adding that his client is completely innocent and currently working to fight the charges, which he claims are “baseless.” Although Annie is not included in the cast full-time, her rep is claiming she may still make a small appearance in the upcoming season.

Bravo is not commenting on the latest gossip. “We haven’t finished shooting this season yet, so we haven’t made any kind of casting decisions for season five yet,” a rep for the network stated.

In other RHONY news one of the new Housewives has a famous relative! Fran Dresher is known for her role as the nanny turned housewife on The Nanny, but now she’s also gaining some attention for being the cousin of new RHONY Housewife Aviva Drescher. Speaking to the Huffington Post‘s Rob Shuter, Fran talks about how reality TV isn’t really her cup of tea, but she isn’t going to pull a Real Housewives of New Jersey and start some televised family drama over the ordeal.

“I would never [do a reality show],” Fran told Rob, adding that she’s been approached several times to become the subject of one! “During the times that reality was so big, sitcoms were so not en vogue. ‘We should do a reality show with you,’ [I was told] and I said no,” Fran relays. “First of all, I don’t like them. It appeals to the lowest common denominator. It’s not really reality, because they have to have conflict in them to have people sitting there.” Wow! She really, really doesn’t like them.

“I’ve never flipped a table in my life,” Fran added with a laugh. “I’m scared to admit, but one of my cousins is one of the new ‘Housewives’ of New York and yesterday we had my book party at Dylan’s Candy Bar. … Well, I said hello and we talked a little bit.”

Finally some former NY Housewives news, Kelly Bensimon is contradicting herself again. In a new interview with Zap2it, Kelly claims she was never really friends with ex-cast mates LuAnn de Lesseps and Jill Zarin!

When asked if she keeps in touch with any of her former co-stars, the ditzy model replied: “Luann I speak to and Jill I talk to. We were cast mates, not really friends.”

Interesting, considering that in a recent interview with AVENUE Magazine, Kelly revealed that one of the positives of participating in the show was making a “life-long” friend in Jill. Jill agreed, telling the mag, “Our friendship is real. She’s the most loyal, good friend you could ever count on. She’s such a hard worker.” The two have also been photographed together post-Housewives. So which is it, Kelly? Friends or not?

THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST CASTING DRAMA? WAS BRAVO RIGHT TO AXE ANNIE CHURCHILL? DO YOU WANT TO SEE FRAN DRESCHER MAKE AN APPEARANCE ON HOUSEWIVES? DO YOU BELIEVE KELLY AND JILL ARE FRIENDS OR NOT?

Poor Jill Zarin. It seems she can never do anything right! Last Thursday Jill and her husband Bobby attended the annual Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) fundraising gala, which is a big celeb draw. Performing at the event was the magnificent, amazing Barbra Streisand. Since Barbra doesn’t often perform live and Barbra is amazing (Memories, anyone? “The Way We Were”?) Jill taped a little bit of the concert and in her thrall posted it on YouTube. BIG MISTAKE. Huge.

Well, according to RadarOnline, Barbra‘s attorneys found out about the video and immediately demanded the former Real Housewives of New York super villainess take it down or risk getting sued!

Jill, being scared of a big A-List real celeb, immediately obliged and informed her Twitter followers that their front row glimpse of the glorious Babs was no longer available with this Tweet: “Someone from Barbra streisands company just called my store to tell me to take down my YouTube video or they will sue me. Is that nuts? Sorry guys. I took it down!” Hey, I’d be scared too, Ms. Streisand will cut you.

Things should have ended there but gossip gangster Rob Shuter got involved and despite claims that Rob is a Jill fan, he called her out, Tweeting: “Barbra Streisand threatens to sue ex #RHONY @jillzarin for posting YouTube video of private concert! Not everyone wants to live on camera.”

Jill retaliated, Tweeting to Rob: “It was a 30 second clip of her on a big screen . Lets not get excited. Like video of tv screen. 30 seconds?” Jill also accused Rob of threatening her employees. When one drama queen meets another, madness ensues — see the Twitter chain below.

In order to make nicey-nice with the Barbra, Jill tweeted that her December Newsletter was going to include an apology. Perhaps she can send Babs some Skweeze Couture as an apology gift.

I feel for Jill. I do think she was just genuinely excited and wanted to share her experience, I don’t think she meant to do anything offensive or illegal. Rob continued to make fun, tweeting that he was seeing Hugh Jackman tonight and wondered if he should tape it? Le sigh.

Moving on Kelly Bensimon is returning to a TV screen near you and Jill is going to tape it and put it on YouTube, illegally of course! No just kidding. Actually, Kelly will be part of a new HGTV show called Hollywood at Home. I’m guessing this was taped before she was fired??

Kelly’s NYC apartment will be featured in an upcoming episode which tours the living quarters of the famous (or semi-famous, apparently). Frankly, whether you like Kelly or not her apartment looks pretty amazing. A glimpse of the Cray-Cray’s apartment is below. Sometimes marrying for money pays off…

Hollywood at Home premieres on Thursday, December 22 at 8 p.m.

[Photo Credits: WENN.com]

DO YOU THINK BARBARA OVER-REACTED TO JILL’S VIDEO OR WAS JILL WRONG TO POST EVEN 30 SECONDS OF A PRIVATE CONCERT? WILL YOU BE WATCHING KELLY ON THE NEW HGTV SPECIAL?

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE PHOTOS OF KELLY’S HOME!


It seems Ramona Singer‘s name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days as the Real Housewives of New York loose canon has been everywhere promoting her pinot and show!

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 and Aviva 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?

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