Jill, Kelly, Alex, Cindy fired from Real Housewives of New York City

Possible Real Housewives of New York City cast for Season 5

It’s been rumored for months that Bravo was planning on overhauling the cast of The Real Housewives of New York City and that appears to be the case as Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon, Alex McCord (which include’s Alex’s husband, and honorary “housewife,” Simon van Kempen), and Cindy Barshop were all reportedly contacted by Bravo earlier today and told they would not be back for the fifth season of the reality series.

That leaves only Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps as returning cast members, the latter of which revealed yesterday on New York Live that there would be three new women added for next season.

The cuts seem to match up with the planned “Real Housewives Live Tour” in October with the exception being Jill Zarin’s scheduled appearance in Atlanta. Sonja Morgan was scheduled to appear at the Chicago show and LuAnn de Lesseps was on the bill in Atlantic City. (Perhaps Jill will be replaced in Atlanta by Ramona Singer?)

There has been no official confirmation of the reports, only these lukewarm responses from the ladies stating that no final decisions have been made:

Alex McCord via Twitter: “Speaking for myself only, there is no decision yet whether I’m in or out of #RHONY -Nothing’s finalized, though I’d like to do another year.”

Simon van Kempen via Twitter: “Per @BravoTV we r still under consideration #Fact RT @SirEddieCorp: @mccordalex are the rubies true were u let go fm#RHoNY @SimonvanKempen”

Jill Zarin via statement to TooFab.com: “Jill has not been fired from The Real Housewives of New York City. The truth is that Jill is still in discussions with Bravo for season 5 and hasn’t made a final decision about returning to the show.”

Cindy Barshop in a statement to HuffPost Celeb: “Everything out there right now is just rumors. Nothing is 100 [percent] decided yet, it could go either way.”

UPDATE – Jill Zarin just posted this on her Facebook page:

You guys are so sweet. Sign up at jillzarin.com for my newsletter. My fans will get my first comments when I am allowed too. I hate not telling you more than you know. But I am under contract with Bravo that is very specific about penalties if we leak anything etc. That’s why I couldn’t confirm rumors from August that came out. I feel terrible. But don’t worry….as Bobby says..”It’s ALL good.” I promise.

UPDATE – Alex has clarified her position on Facebook as well:

I can confirm that I have not been ‘fired’ by BRAVO for next season’s Real Housewives of New York City. There are many rumors swirling around. Here’s the truth – Simon & I are still under consideration for season 5 & we’ll know one way or another very soon. I have to laugh at all the purported ‘insiders’ giving ‘off the record’ quotes. Some of the things I’ve read are frankly just absurd. Check back here or on Twitter & I’ll let you know the truth when I know something definitive. Alex

Don’t count out the castaways completely though because according to HuffPost Celeb there is a chance that they could still come back:

But according to another insider, the three housewives who were not invited back were told that they could possibly be reinstated next season if any of the new cast members don’t work out — and we’re sure that Zarin, McCord and Bensimon have their fingers crossed that they won’t.

I completely agree that the show needed to be overhauled because it had lapsed into unentertaining and over-intentionalized non-stop petty bickering saturated with so much finger pointing and desperate attempts to win viewers’ favors that it felt like a political race. Regardless of who they kept, flushing more than half the cast will most certainly make it possible that the show can be entertaining again – of course all of it depends on the new ladies they bring in.

So what do you think? Do you like the cuts? Should they have cut more? Less? Someone else?