Everyone was shocked when Bethenny Frankel announced in August of 2018 that she was done with Real Housewives of New York. It turns out that before Bethenny’s departure, there were some casting changes in the works, and the skinnygirl mogul had a role in it.
In November at BravoCon, Leah McSweeney was introduced as the newest RHONY cast member. Leah is a businesswoman with her own clothing line, Married to the Mob. She also hosts a podcast, Improper Etiquette, and writes a monthly column for Penthouse Magazine.
According to People, Bethenny was reportedly instrumental in getting Leah cast on RHONY. A source who is close to Bethenny said, “Bethenny introduced her to the show and recommended her.”
Another source stated, “Bethenny really knows what makes great TV. It’s her superpower. She saw a lot of potential in Leah. The two have a lot in common; they’re both single moms and strong businesswomen,” the insider said. “She would have been a strong ally to Bethenny, which she hasn’t had on the show since her friendship with [Carole Radziwill] fell apart.”
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A source close to casting reported that Leah was never meant to be Bethenny’s replacement. “Leah was in talks to join the show before anyone knew that Bethenny was leaving. Bethenny was the one who made the introduction to casting.” With Bethenny’s surprise exit, the show needed to try and find a way for Leah to be connected to the other New York Housewives. An insider close to Bethenny stated that Leah had only met the other ladies through “test filming.”
“The plan was to bring Leah on with Bethenny and introduce her to the group as Bethenny’s friend,” a show insider said. “But with Bethenny out and Leah already cast, they were stuck and needed to find a reason for Leah to make sense on the show. The truth is, Leah really didn’t know anyone one coming into filming.”
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And so, it was decided that Leah would join the group as Tinsley Mortimer’s friend. The way that Leah entered the group caused some friction with the New York Housewives. Oh, the perils of being a new Housewife!
The show source said, “Some were warmer to Leah than others. She’s made real friendships now but it’s not easy for her right away. Most of the anger went towards Tinsley, though. Producers thought it would help connect her to the group, but it only isolated her more.” The insider added, “Leah is a great addition to the group, and really holds her own.”
RELATED: Report: Luann de Lesseps & Tinsley Mortimer Are Fighting With New Cast Member Real Housewives Cast Member Leah McSweeney
(Warning- there is some rough spelling ahead.) On February 5, Bethenny spoke out on Twitter when a fan commented, “Yes. We need Bethenny back!” Bethenny tweeted, “NO. You do NOT wish that. I’ve payed it forward & put others into the mix for you. Just wait.”
I am excited to see how Leah fits in with her co-stars when Season 12 of RHONY returns on April 2. I hope that Leah likes cabaret.
RELATED: Report: Rumored Real Housewives Of New York Addition Leah McSweeney Made Racially Insensitive & Homophobic Comments In The Past
TELL US- ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT BETHENNY HAD A HAND IN CASTING LEAH? ARE YOU EXCITED TO WATCH SEASON 12?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]