Bethenny Frankel's Shocking RHONY Departure Has Left Bravo Scrambling To Fill Her Spot For Season 12
When Bethenny Frankel suddenly announced that she was leaving Real Housewives of New York, she pretty much dropped a bomb on the Bravo universe. The timing couldn’t have been worse, as Frankel’s announcement came just hours after they had started filming Season 12.
According to Entertainment Tonight’s Brice Sander, Bravo had no idea this was coming, and they have “no game plan in place for the new season.” Frankel’s surprise exit leaves RHONY short one cast member, and they don’t have time to cast a replacement. At least, not a newbie.
“Someone call up Kristen Taekman and Heather "Holla" Thomson STAT. We at least need the majority of the season six squad back together,” tweeted Sander.
RHONY fans agree that it’s time to call in a vet, but what they can’t agree on is who. Sander suggested Taekman and Thomson, but other names came up during the discussion, like Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon, Carole Radziwill, and Aviva Drescher.
Earlier this week, Frankel revealed that she was leaving RHONY via a statement to Variety, followed by a message to fans on Instagram. This is the second time that she has exited the show, the first time was after Season 3. She eventually returned ahead of Season 7, and she has been causing drama ever since.
During her time on the show, Frankel has gone from a single, broke girl in a tiny apartment to a successful entrepreneur worth millions. Frankel had the foresight to include a clause in her original contract that allowed her to promote her business and products on RHONY . This meant she could launch SkinnyGirl with a built-in national platform. Basically, Bravo was paying her to advertise her brand.
“You helped me to get here. I would read your letters and messages and grow from your struggles,” wrote Frankel. “You would give me your honest opinion about my products and projects and helpful advice about divorce, relationships, motherhood, miscarriages, health, and surviving the death of a loved one and almost my own. You have shared your ideas with me and I have been inspired by and learned from you.”
Frankel decided to leave the show so she could start a new chapter in her life. She just entered a partnership with MGM Television and Mark Burnett to produce non-scripted projects that represent “a shift in the conversation for women.”
Insiders say that another reason Frankel decided to leave RHONY was that it was negatively affecting her custody battle with her ex, Jason Hoppy. A source says that Frankel wasn’t willing to jeopardize losing custody of her daughter over a reality show.
New episodes of Real Housewives of New York are expected to return to Bravo early next year.