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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first Bethenny-less season of The Real Housewives of New York City finally came sputtering to an end- coasting on flimsy hopes and raw inertia ‘til the bitter, dusty end with Andy Cohen selling what’s left of it for scraps. It was a season of false promises, false reconciliations, and of course – false friendships, but never (wink,wink) false dramas. There were feuds, middle eastern nightmares, thugs in cocktail dresses, dueling sweet sixteens and dueling (un)fabulous forty-year-olds (and one pinot-sodden fifty-year-old), musical ineptitude galore, and Jill Zarin remaining the same old Jill Zarin – filled with a plethora of advice, snarkitude, and red-headed fury; proving that she alone will drive this jalopy ‘til it drives no more. Go, Jill, Go!

The Season Finale begins with The Countess speaking (“Chic, C’est La Vie! Si bon! Si bon!”) to her music producer – naturally they are discussing what a runaway success her song Chic, C’est La Vie will become. Chris surprises LuAnn with a friend of his, who just happened to stop by – a friend who just happens to be Natalie King Cole.

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