There appears to be a ton of behind-the-scenes drama regarding the new Real Housewives of Atlanta season, which is scheduled to begin filming in less than a month. According to multiple sources, a fairly big cast shakeup could be in the works, with at least one major name not returning. But Is NeNe coming back, or are rumors of her firing just that?
LoveBScott appears to have been the first to report that NeNe Leakes had potentially been let go from the RHOA cast. According to their sources, Nene “has not been offered an opportunity to return to The Real Housewives of Atlanta for Season 13.” It seems that “pickup letters went out last Friday” (June 12) for all returning cast members, and Nene wasn’t among them.
“Sources close to NeNe have confirmed exclusively that she does not have an offer,” LoveBScott’s article added, claiming that what appeared to maybe be a firing was related to “a larger NBC/Universal conversation happening.”
NeNe’s firing would help explain her cryptic (and since-deleted) tweet from yesterday morning. Just before noon — or about five hours before the above story broke — NeNe wrote, “You are NOT gonna get away with this! I promise.” At the same time, one thing the tweet wouldn’t explain is why NeNe was tweeting about her alleged firing five days after not getting a pickup letter from Bravo.
So, is NeNe coming back for RHOA Season 13? The woman herself has since vehemently denied the claim she’s been fired. Her manager told People that the story is “absolutely not true” — and furthermore, that “it was made abundantly clear prior that she will always be welcome on the series as long as she wants to be.” Though NeNe’s manager didn’t say who exactly made the open-ended invitation abundantly clear, a Bravo spokesman has also denied Nene’s firing.
As for that “larger conversation,” the good people at @BestRealityBlog may have shone light on what’s really happening behind the scenes. Per BRB’s sources, Bravo is trying to convince NeNe “to take a HUGE pay cut to appear on the new season.” The network is willing to play hardball because “at this point they’re OK with [NeNe] exiting.”
“Basically,” their update concludes, “what happened to Kenya S11 is happening to NeNe.”
It makes sense for Bravo to try and cut the budget of its biggest shows, since we’re still in a pandemic and revenues are down for so many companies you can almost close your eyes and point. However, Bravo has been shedding so much reality TV salary lately by firing racists that they’ve got to be able to find a little NeNe money somewhere. Plus, if the reaction on social media is any indication, a RHOA season without NeNe is a stream of negative reaction GIFs waiting to happen. Public opinion is definitely on her side.
(Photo credits: Is NeNe coming back via Instagram)
John Sharp is Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. Tips: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @john_starcasm.