Jill Zarin has found herself in the crossfire again. It seems that ever since her friendship with Bethenny Frankel fell by the wayside, Jill can do nothing right. The most recent controversy surrounding the red-headed former reality star centers around an appearance at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Women’s Event at Night. Jill was billed as the keynote speaker, and along with her sister, Lisa Wexler, and her mother, Gloria Kamen, they were to discuss their advice book Secrets Of A Jewish Mother.
Somewhere along the way a few people were offended by comments Lisa allegedly made, insulting stay-at-home mothers, rumors began circulating that women stormed out or left in “droves.” One lone tweeter with an agenda (an agenda as she self-admittedly loathes Jill) decided to claim Jill and her family were “hot messes” and “disastrous”, offending many of the 700 guests in attendance. Well, of course, the blogs and then the media picked up on the alleged controversy, which prompted the organizers of the event to send a formal email apology letter to all the women who attended.
Jill is finally speaking out giving her side of things and claiming that very few people were actually upset, and the supposed mass walk-out was largely comprised of women who needed to leave, as the event ran long. She claims no one was behaving as if they were upset during or after Lisa’s comments.
“They completely lied,” Jill tells Naughty Nice Rob. “They didn’t have their listening ears on and misunderstood what she said. No one walked out. It was running one hour late and was already 10:00 PM after dessert, so a few left. I have it all on tape.” Indeed, Jill does have it on tape – and the videos are up on her YouTube channel!
“From the minute we got on stage, we had mic issues,” Jill recounts. “So bad that they took off all our individual mics and gave us only one big handheld mic — so unprofessional. No one could really understand us.”
Jill adds, “We were thrown under the bus. We were never asked to be funny. We were asked to talk about subjects in the book, which we did.”
Lisa is also speaking out about what happened, taking to her radio show, and not backing down from her comments. Lisa describes the episode as a miscommunication. And she is not willing to apologize to the Federation or the women who attended the event, but she is sorry that Jill is taking the heat from her comments. She is also sorry she chose the wrong forum to express her feelings.
Lisa insists she was not insulting stay-at-home mothers, but merely discussing the quandary any professional woman faces once she decides to become a mother, which is a subject broached in their book, and very few people even noticed her comments during the event. Lisa blames herself saying she did not prepare adequately for the program and essentially admitted to ad-libbing. She says the controversy was started by people on Twitter that don’t like Jill and attack her from multiple aliases.
Jill also appeared on her sister’s show, both women both claim there was no dispute between the Federation until the twitter/media episode blew it out of proportion, and the Federation issued the letter as damage control. Jill believes the Federation had “no right” to send that letter and “hurt their livelihood,” particularly without discussing the matter with them first. Jill doesn’t feel anything said was so egregious it warranted so much upheaval and she defended Lisa’s comments as “lessons.”
Jill is still disappointed by the “atrocious” handling of the situation and the lack of communication by the Dallas chapter – apparently, they found out about the letter through the internet! Jill explains they have spoken at many chapters across the country with no controversy, and they have been asked back repeatedly. Jill is also offended that her participation as a member (a Lion of Judah) was not considered in the Dallas chapter’s handling of said negative reaction from attendees.
Unfortunately, in the radio broadcast, emotions got out of hand where Jill is concerned, and she released the name of the woman who sent the email apology (which is already all over the internet thanks to the prolific posting of the letter). Jill is furious and hopes she will suffer consequences for the letter. Jill point-blank mentioned that she thinks the woman should be fired.
Jill continues to speak of how the event was mismanaged and she had no idea the event was a fundraiser or that they were billed as the “entertainment.” Jill maintains that many people left simply because the time management issues, and the Federation attempted to blame her and her family for their own poor organization skills.
Lisa astutely points out that Susan (the author of the letter), a full-time working mother, should be understanding of Lisa discussing the challenges working mothers face. Jill says the Federation benefited from the controversy since it gained national attention and she made front-page news over the “nonsense.”
Jill also talked about learning to deal with negative reactions from the media – a lesson learned from appearing on Real Housewives of New York. Jill cautions viewers about the editing process, which vilified her in favor of Bethenny. Jill believes “somebody” on RHONY (whose name she did not mention) paid a select group of people to besmirch her reputation and continue to slander her in the press through the internet.
According to Jill, she has subsequently received a lot of apologies from fans who feel they misjudged the situation initially, and she says, “haters will be haters.” All in all, a lot of huff and puff over what seems like a simple miscommunication!
[Photo Credit: Johnny Louis/WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON JILL AND LISA’S REACTIONS TO THE CONTROVERSY? DO YOU THINK THE ENTIRE THING WAS BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION AND HANDLED INAPPROPRIATELY BY ORGANIZERS OR DID LISA’S COMMENTS WARRANT THE REACTION?
Former reality villainess, Jill Zarin is in heaps of trouble after a disastrous and embarrassing appearance at the Jewish Federation of Dallas’ Women’s Event at Night. Jill, along with her sister, Lisa Wexler, and her mother, Gloria Kamen, were booked to speak about Jewish mothers, because as you know, they wrote a little book about the subject, Secrets of a Jewish Mother.
Things were apparently a mess from start to finish and went so awry the organization issued an apology letter to attendees! A copy of that letter is below!
Apparently, the event got off to a rocky start when the fired, Real Housewives of New York star claimed she couldn’t actually speak because she forgot her glasses, and therefore was unable to see her notes. Gee, how about thinking and planning ahead Jillzy? Then according to a guest, Jill, Lisa, and Gloria bickered the entire time, under the pretense of being amusing. The real issue occurred when Lisa, a renowned radio host, began lecturing the audience about the importance of women working outside the home.
According to an anonymous attendee, who communicated her experience to LynnNChicago, it all began when Lisa and Jill staged some sort of a mock Q&A session where they imagined things the audience (a large crowd) would inquire about. Jill would then answer how she would handle a given situation. Lisa, allegedly, took that opportunity to speak at length about the feminist movement, and the importance of women having careers; chastising them against being full-time stay at home mothers once their children are no longer babies. Lisa implored women to have a job outside the home because that is the only way to be fulfilled and happy!
Lisa, supposedly, informed the audience that being out of the workforce for more than five years to focus on motherhood is preposterous, rendering your career all but dead. Apparently, many of the audience members had more than one child, stay home full-time to raise them, and consider motherhood their primary responsibility. Audience members began to leave as Lisa was speaking and Jill looked horrified and uncomfortable by her sister’s comments. As she should be! “Women were walking out in droves,” the source reports.
Jill and her family were reportedly described as “hot messes” by guests, who were terribly offended by the comments made at the event. The anonymous attendee further complained that their speech was not “well planned.”
Jill’s mother also, allegedly, referred to Jill’s first husband, as a “dwarf” then a “little person” during an anecdote where she shared why she advised Jill against marrying him. Jill’s ex-husband is merely short, but nevertheless his height is a ridiculous reason to advise Jill not to marry him! That man is also Jill’s daughter, Ally Shapiro‘s father. “No one was pleased,” the woman adds, claiming when they later saw Jill in the lobby it was uncomfortable and awkward.
After the speech was allegedly cut short by organizers, because of the exodus, Jill, Lisa, and Gloria set up a table to sell and sign books. “Then it abruptly ended- Jill said they brought plenty of books for people and she would sign them and take pics,” an attendee describes. “There were 2 people buying books when I left and 2 people at the signing table. Everyone else was getting out of there as fast as they could!!” Yikes.
Jill claims they donated the books, but an event insider says organizers actually bought the books to give to table hosts as a token of appreciation.
Event organizers issued a formal apology letters to attendees for the comments made by Jill’s sister. “We also realize that our entertainment after dinner was a true and complete disappointment,” read the apology letter. “Their presentation was not what we had planned with them and certainly did not meet our expectations of a funny and poignant take on Jewish motherhood.” You can read the letter in its entirety below.
Lisa seems to have a completely different take on what happened, claiming the organizers were pleased with her contribution! “I spoke from my heart. I spoke of my values as expressed in our book and on my radio show every day,” she retorted in a statement to RadarOnline. “In a group of 700 women, some will agree with me and others will not. As to the specific allegation that I spoke against stay at home moms, that is an absolute lie.”
“We have presented to numerous groups throughout the country with very positive feedback. We are disappointed to hear that some members of the Dallas audience did not feel that way,” Lisa added. “The sentiment of the person who wrote that letter is not reflective of the very positive audience feedback we personally heard after the event as well as emails we received.”
Indeed, a woman who did attend the event claims she enjoyed it and had a wonderful time. “I got invited by @lisawexler and I thought they did a great job! I don’t know why people would take offense to what she said,” twitter user rings33 remarked.
Jill has not commented on the controversy directly, but she did speak to blogger, Ilana Angel to give her perspective about what happened. According to the conversation they had, Jill is “disappointed” by the response circulating around the blogs and feels the event was disorganized from the beginning, which reflected poorly on their presentation.
“Jill was billed as the entertainment, but was not assigned a wrangler and left on her own to meet and great the guests. She was told she was the keynote speaker, yet she did not appear until the end of an event that was running long and already losing guests,” Ilana writes.
An attendee contacted Ilana and said they had a wonderful time and enjoyed Jill’s contribution to the platform. One guest claims the treatment Jill received by the Federation was “mortifying” and was a disservice to the organization.
Apparently, the Dallas chapter has also acknowledged that Jill’s involvement garnered them many new members that evening and helped them raise a significant amount of money, but the Federation has still not issued an apology to Jill or her family for what happened. Jill is a proud member of the Jewish Federation.
Jill will be speaking about her experience at the event on her sister’s radio show this Thursday, if you care to listen! Quite the mess!
[Photo Credit: Johnny Lewis/WENN.com]
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT HAPPENED? WHO IS TO BLAME: JILL AND HER FAMILY OR THE ORGANIZATION? WERE GUESTS RIGHT TO BE OFFENDED BY LISA’S WORDS?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO VIEW THE FEDERATION’S APOLOGY LETTER!
Bethenny Ever After premiers next week on Bravo and in anticipation for the new season, Bravo has just released the extended preview! If you thought last year was bad – hold onto your margaritas because this year features more meltdowns, more tears, more screaming, and more Bethenny Frankel being herself. I’ll let you make your own conclusion about what that entails!
Unfortunately for Bethenny this season will shine a spotlight on her marital discord as a fed up Jason Hoppy basically tells her he is over being a character in her quest for reality television domination.
After two years of marriage Jason is apparently reaching his breaking point with Drama Frankel and if you believe everything you see on TV their marriage is having some serious issues! Jason advises her to quit the show if she doesn’t want the attention and after rumors have emerged that he is tired of televising their life, that may be a major reason Bethenny is threatening to make this season her last!
After a fight with Bethenny, he even walks away from her at an airport! “An apology is not enough for you, you just keep it going!;” he snaps at Bethenny in another scene.
Of course we know the two are still married and that Bethenny is working through her perpetual issues in therapy. “In my relationship, I’m the tortured one,”Bethenny admits to her one true friend – the camera! “Jason tells me that I pay you and everybody to tell me what I want to hear,” Bethenny confides to her shrink. Yikes, Hoppy – growing some balls!
In addition to juggling marriage and career Bethenny still has some major latent issues over her childhood and worries that her daughter Bryn will end up like her! “I want her to be soft and sweet and nice — and not hard and a survivor like me,” Bethenny sobs. In another scene she is speaking with a friend about wanting to give Bryn all the love she never had growing up.
Bethenny will continue to struggle with her mother, the outspoken Bernadette Birk, and shockingly even her assistant Julie seems over her shenanigans. This season should be a wild one – wildly annoying, that is! The extended preview is below!
Moving on, Sonja Morgan might finally be getting some! The sex-crazed Real Housewives of New York star who’s made no secret of her love of men recently spilled the beans about dating a fellow Bravolebrity!
Sonja confessed to RumorFix that she has been seeing Million Dollar Listing New York realtor, Ryan Serhant after they were observed “flirting up a storm” at the Human Rights Campaign event in New York on Feb 4.
“I’m crazy about him! He made me feel like I was the only woman in the room at the HRC gala,” Sonja gushed. “He’s adorable!” Ryan, a former soap opera actor, turned hand model, turned realtor will be starring in Bravo’s new east coast version of the popular show Million Dollar Listing. Oh, did we mention he’s much a younger man?
Although their relationship is very new, but Sonja is thrilled about what the future holds! ”I’m very excited about getting to know him better and spending more time with him. Who wouldn’t? But I want to take things slowly. I’m just dating at the moment.” A photo of Ryan is below!
Bethenny Ever After premieres February 20th at 9/8c on Bravo.
ARE YOU SURPRISED BETHENNY AND JASON ARE HAVING MARITAL PROBLEMS? IS THE SHOW EXACERBATING THEIR ISSUES? THOUGHTS ON SONJA’S NEW MAN?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR A PREVIEW OF BETHENNY EVER AFTER!
It’s hard to believe, looking back, that Jill Zarin and Ramona Singer were ever friends. Well, not friends, per se, but at least frienemies! And after four seasons and one firing, the duo whose relationship rapidly deteriorated into a ‘her or me’ situation at Bravo still can’t stand each other!
Speaking to HollywoodLife, Ramona opens up about her animosity towards a certain former co-star! “Jill and I, it’s really funny because we were better friends before the show aired than now,” Ramona explains. “But you know, we’re still … when I see her, we’re still friendly. But do I spend time with her? No.”
And Ramona is still accusing Jill of talking about her to the media! “She makes up stories just for the press. If she were a different type of person, I would talk about it.”
Ramona still likes one of her former co-workers though – she is still the best of friends with Alex McCord! Am I the only person who just simply doesn’t buy this? “The only person I spend time with is Alex,” Ramona reveals. “I’ve always been friends with [her] on and off camera.”
“When you’re good friends with someone, you’re good friends forever,” Ramona added. “With Alex and I, we did develop a true friendship and I will always be there if she needs me. I know she’ll be there for me.”
“Whenever I pick up the phone with her, it’s just like I saw her yesterday,” she describes. “That’s what true friendship is.” Well, that’s very nice.
Moving on, Jill is still selling shapewear—she’ll be on HSN very soon—and she is still talking Real Housewives of New York! The former reality star, who claims to be in talks with Fox for her own show, says she has no hard feelings towards her still employed former co-stars.
“I will definitely watch next season of the Real Housewives of New York, I am looking forward to it,” Jill insists to RadarOnline. “It is funny how the press misrepresents me sometimes but the truth is that I have absolutely no animosity towards the show, Bravo or any of the girls, I wish them all the best and am sure the show is going to do very well.”
She also reminds us that even girls with hot bodies like Kelly Bensimon and LuAnn de Lesseps wear shapewear. “Countess Luann and Kelly have great bodies and they were fighting over my shape wear, they both wear it, you would be surprised to hear the list of people who wear it!” Those two fighting over shapewear? Now that’s some footage I don’t want to see!
[Photos Credit: WENN]
SHOULD RAMONA AND JILL GET OVER THEIR FEUD ALREADY? DO YOU BELIEVE RAMONA AND ALEX HAVE AN AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIP? IS JILL OVER BEING FIRED OR NOT?
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 Countywas 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 Coffeyapproach…
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.
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!
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?