I think we all knew it was coming – Real Housewives of New York, an iconic Bravo franchise, desperately needed an update. After it’s dismal 13th season wasn’t even worthy of a reunion, Bravo had some thinking to do. And apparently, they have come up with a solution.
In an interview with Variety, Andy Cohen is happily revealing the future of the franchise. Not gonna lie – it’s pretty exciting. Andy said the new direction of the show “takes into account everything that our passionate audience has really been telling us over the last year.” It also involves, “rebooting and recasting” the series, most likely from scratch. Finally, Bravo will be launching a second RHONY series that features ex-NYC housewives. GASP! Andy explained, “You know that we’re at a crossroads for ‘RHONY.’ We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out where to go. And the plan that we’ve come up with, I think, is a real gift to the fans.”
As far as the original installment of the show, Andy said, “There are thousands of stories to tell here. This is the most multicultural, diverse, and energetic and exciting city in America: We are searching for a multicultural group of friends who really best reflect the most exciting city in the country. We’re looking for a group of women who are real friends, and who are of diverse backgrounds, races and religions.”
When it comes to the new franchise, there’s no official title. But Andy and Co. has been referring to it as RHONY: Throwback or RHONY: Legacy. The idea is to feature ex-cast member from the show over the years. Andy wouldn’t reveal who is being cast yet but did expect Jill Zarin to blow up his phone. Said Andy, “Jill is gonna be, like, ‘Am I getting my apple back?’”
Also no word on whether or not the new series will land on Bravo or Peacock, which is a new option for housewives. Of course, the topic of housewife all-star Bethenny Frankel came up. Andy said of Bethenny appearing on RHONY: Throwback, “Listen, I go back with Bethenny since the beginning. She’s moved to Connecticut, but she’s still in the Hamptons. Her life is now evolved to another place, so I can’t imagine her wanting to do it. But of course, you know, I never turn down a conversation with Bethenny about coming back.”
Back to the reboot. Andy insists that the future of the RHONY reboot will be diverse. Which might include Eboni K. Williams, who was the first black cast member on the show. He said, “We are interviewing multiple groups of friends. So certainly if Eboni is interested and has friends that would meet our casting goals, then of course they would be considered.” Andy added of the direction of casting, “I think it will be the rainbow that is New York City. That’s the goal.” Neither Bravo nor Andy would comment on the other most recent cast members, including Ramona Singer.
Andy went on, “Our loyal fans have spoken as to what they want to see and what they don’t want to see. We’ve taken that all into account. And this is a series where you’re going to expect to see fan-favorites from the show’s great history. It’s organic, you know? They were in each other’s lives, and they are in each other’s lives.” He insisted, “We’re looking at people who are beloved by fans.” And he’s downright excited about the possibilities.
Andy admitted, “I’ve got to tell you that in my almost 20 years working with Bravo, to me, this is the most exciting casting proposition that I’ve been involved with. We are quite literally looking for who will be the new Real Housewives of New York City! And I think this represents a tremendous opportunity for a rebirth of the show. What we’re looking for is everything that makes a great Housewife: fun, opinionated, successful, aspirational women who represent a side of New York that we want to see more of.”
When faced with the idea of current cast members coming back for the reboot, the topic of a major shakeup came up. Similar to what we saw on season 5 of RHONY. Andy allowed, “I mean, we talked about everything. There were people who really wanted: Let’s just totally start over. And then there were people who were like, ‘Wait a minute, but what about this group that we’ve invested 13 years in?’ I think that’s why this is really listening to everybody.”
Andy then gave us a glimpse into what the casting process was like. He disclosed, “Part of why we really wanted to announce this before it happened is that we want to hear from people. This is a major casting search. We’re going to be casting all over Manhattan and the boroughs. Part of the search is spreading the word. That’s one of the things that is going to be fun about this. Because when we find people that we love, we can say, ‘Who are your friends? Who else is in your life?'”
Finally, Andy talked about what it meant to have fan input on both of the upcoming RHONY shows. He revealed, “We have a pretty active research department at Bravo. So I will say when research comes to the programming execs, it’s usually not that surprising given what we’re already hearing.” He concluded, “People call me Bravo Andy, and they either blame me or applaud me for everything that happens on Bravo, whether I have something to do with it or not. So I feel especially connected to the audience. I do a Q&A with the Watch What Happens Live audience every night before the show, and I hear opinions every night. I feel like a walking focus group that I’m listening to, just based on what’s coming at me all day long.”
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF RHONY? WHO SHOULD COME BACK FOR THE REBOOT? WHO SHOULD BE A PART OF THROWBACK? GIVE US ALL YOUR CASTING IDEAS BELOW!
[Photo Credit: Bravo]