When Bethenny Frankel announced her departure from the Real Housewives of New York last summer she claimed that emotional exhaustion was behind her exit. But with season 12 of RHONY officially underway, Luann de Lesseps says there was another reason why Frankel called it quits. De Lesseps claims that a contract dispute between Frankel and Bravo is why the Skinnygirl mogul really decided to give up her apple.
Luann de Lesseps shades Bethenny Frankel ahead of season 12 premiere
De Lesseps shared her thoughts on the new season of RHONY during an interview on Rob Shuter’s podcast, titled Naughty but Nice. De Lesseps did not pull any punches when the discussion shifted to Frankel’s exit and how the cast is handling her absence.
According to All About The Tea, de Lesseps revealed that everyone is happy that Frankel left and that the cast is now free to “express themselves” like never before.
“I feel like this season, because [Bethenny Frankel’s] not there, the women have a place to express themselves and show more of their personality. And I think this is the best season yet. It’s like, Bethenny who? It’s the best season ever!” de Lesseps shared.
De Lesseps emphasized that Frankel’s exit has not made her upset, though she did admit that she misses “going toe-to-toe” with her former co-star. She added that Frankel “takes up a lot of oxygen,” which can make it difficult for others to express their opinions.
It is anyone’s guess how the show will fair without one of Bravo’s biggest personalities, but de Lesseps believes she knows exactly why Frankel left.
Did Frankel leave ‘RHONY’ over money?
During the podcast, de Lesseps claimed that money was the real reason Frankel called it quits. The RHONY star revealed that she heard from sources that Bravo and Frankel failed to reach a contract agreement for season 12, which was unexpected on Frankel’s part.
“I know more or less what she makes…and I don’t know, but I heard through the grapevine it was contractural….so I assume it’s about money,” de Lesseps stated. “I don’t think she expected it to go that way.”
The cast and crew of RHONY did not hear about Frankel’s exit until she confirmed it last summer. De Lesseps says that Frankel did not tell anyone about her exit, a move that she believes was “not very thoughtful,” especially after everything they have experienced over the years.
Bethenny Frankel has not responded to de Lesseps’ comments. In February, she opened up about her exit and confessed that anxiety and stress played a role in her decision.
Frankel was an original cast member of RHONY before leaving the series after the third season. She returned to the show in season 7 and once starred in her own spin-off, Bethenny Ever After.
Bethenny Frankel weighs in on the new season
In the season 12 premiere of RHONY, all of the current cast members bashed Frankel for her surprising exit, including de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, Tinsley Mortimer, Dorinda Medley, and Sonja Morgan.
In response, Frankel made sure everyone knows what she thought of the season premiere. According to People, Frankel slammed her former co-stars before wishing all of them well.
“The beginning of the show was the proverbial middle finger to me,” Bethenny Frankel said. “The women have definitely had some unpleasant things to say about me. I wish them well.”
Now that she is no longer a part of the show, Bethenny Frankel is concentrating on helping charities during the coronavirus pandemic. She has even launched a disaster relief program called BStrong and is partnering with Global Empowerment Mission.
In addition to her comments about the cast, Frankel also claimed that ratings for RHONY have dropped since her exit.
Are ‘RHONY’ ratings dropping?
In her interview, Frankel explained why she thinks fewer people are tuning in for the new season of RHONY. The reality star believes that fans are looking for more “inspiring” content and are eager to hear uplifting stories.
“It’s sort of not maybe the content that is inspiring people to do what they need to do right now. Or maybe they want to watch either the news or something uplifting or some way to pay it forward,” she explained.
That said, a Bravo rep recently fired back and revealed that the ratings for the season 12 premiere of RHONY were on track with previous years. The rep also explained how the season 11 ratings were inflated due to the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion, which aired right before the premiere.
There is no telling if these ratings will continue throughout the entire season, but it sounds like season 12 will do just fine without Bethenny Frankel in the mix.
New episodes of the Real Housewives of New York air Thursday nights on Bravo.