After days of tepid denials and “nothing’s official yet” statements, the rumors that surfaced earlier this week claiming that Bravo is cleaning house on the cast of The Real Housewives of New York City have finally been officially confirmed by the network. Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon, and Cindy Barshop will not be returning for season five of the reality series, leaving Ramona Singer, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, and Sonja Morgan to keep the drama going alongside three as-yet-unnamed new cast members.
Here is the statement released by Bravo earlier today:
Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps will be returning for season five of The Real Housewives of New York City. We’ve had a fabulous run with all the ladies and appreciate them sharing their lives with our viewers. It is a friendly departure among the other ladies and we continue to have ongoing discussions with them.
Of course, once the cat was out of the bag, that freed up the ladies to finally get to talk about the decision to let them go. A representative for Jill Zarin, perhaps the most shocking cast member to be let go, issued this statement:
Jill is out of town with her husband Bobby and they are visiting her daughter Ally at college for family weekend so she is not speaking with the press. I can tell you that she is very happy and extremely busy with the national launch of her shapewear line Skweez Couture by Jill Zarin which will debut at Lord and Taylor stores across the country this month and then roll out at other national retailers in the coming months. Jill is humbled by the extraordinary amount of media interest in her response and looks forward to personally opening up about all of this very soon and announcing some exciting new projects.
The red-headed Queen Bee announced on Twitter that she will be issuing a statement herself tomorrow.
Alex McCord’s husband Simon van Kempen (who I always considered an honorary housewife) had this to say:
Alex and I are sad that it’s come to this. We had a great four years. We don’t intend for this to be the final time you’ll see us on television. Everything happens for a reason. We are not happy, we’re not sad. It is what it is. We thank our fans. We have tremendous, tremendous outpouring of support. I think even Bravo is surprised by how much support Alex has had. It didn’t change their opinion or didn’t change their decision. And it might not be the end of seeing us on Housewives. It might not be the end of seeing us on Bravo. We don’t know that yet either. There’s a lot to be discussed in the upcoming weeks. We wish the next season well. We’re not going away. We remain happy and long may that continue.
Simon was asked on Twitter why he and Alex weren’t coming back and “Is it a money thing or because of the other ladies??” to which Simon responded, “Neither it was 100% @BravoTV’s decision on where they want #RHoNY to go in S5.”
Alex addressed the firing as well, and seemed to tow the Bravo line about the decision not being reached until today: “Nothing was decided until today, but as of tonight a decision has been reached. @SimonvanKempen & I are leaving #RHONY, sadly but amicably.”
Cindy Barshop, who joined the cast in Season 4, was brief with her confirmation, tweeting: “I will not be returning to RHONY I left on great terms I loved getting to know all of u. Stay tuned much more to come !!”
So far there has been no word from Kelly Bensimon, which is probably because she is really, really confused right now. My guess is that her response to being told that she was fired was, “Wait, I was on a TV show?” Awwwwwww… (I’m kidding Kel-Kel! I think I will miss you – or at least your potential – most of all!)
There has also been no response from those who are returning, as the Twitter accounts of Ramona Singer, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan remain eerily quiet about the shake up.
We’re doing our best to try to uncover who the three new cast members are and will post as soon as we know! (Tips are welcome – just leave a comment below or drop us a line at starcasmtips (at) yahoo.com!)