‘Real Housewives of New York’: Who Could Take Bethenny Frankel’s Place?

Bethenny Frankel’s departure from The Real Housewives of New York shocked the world, but apparently, it also shocked Bravo executives. Now that Frankel is officially off the show, the team is allegedly scrambling to fill her spot. Fans are left wondering who could be brought on to fill the role that Frankel played, and bring the drama needed to keep the franchise afloat.

Why did Bethenny Frankel decide to step away from RHONY?

View this post on Instagram

I wanted to take a moment to write a personal note to you. I am so grateful to you for sticking with me through everything. You started this journey with me in my tiny apartment in my late 30s, wondering what would happen to me. I was broke, single, had no family and no idea what the future held. I had big dreams and I never stopped, but I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get here. You helped me to get here. I would read your letters and messages and grow from your struggles. 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. I am fortunate to have created a business and career that some people only dream of. I had a beautiful baby girl who is now 9 years old, and she has changed me as a human being. I was able to give back and help people all over the world who have been hit with the worst of unforeseen circumstances, which we will all continue together. GO for it. Whatever it is. Reach for your dreams in life and love and make the impossible happen, because it can happen and it WILL happen. Come from a place of yes and it’s yours for the taking. Thank you so much for your love and support. And stay tuned, you haven’t seen the last of me. There are many amazing things to come. I love you all and am so lucky to have you in my life! PS: New York City is still my playground. . ♥️xo♥️ . B

A post shared by Bethenny Frankel (@bethennyfrankel) on

While Frankel’s departure from the series came as a massive surprise to everyone, it seems like it was something she’s thought about extensively. Frankel sat down with Variety to break the news to her fans. She told the publication “It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women. With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”

Page Six, however, claims that Frankel walked from the show when Bravo wouldn’t meet her salary demands. Allegedly, things had been tense between Frankel and the show’s executives in recent months. The tension reportedly stems from Frankel’s desire to branch out and create unscripted content for another network.

Page Six also claims that Frankel didn’t tell top brass that she’d be walking ahead of time. It’s rumored that many of Bravo executives were unaware that she quit before she spoke to the media. Bravo hasn’t confirmed that information.

Is Bravo testing out younger cast members?

While Bravo was allegedly floored by Frankel’s decision to walk away from the franchise, it seems like they are taking the opportunity in stride. According to International Business News, Bravo will be using Frankel’s departure to take the franchise in a different direction.

Rumors are swirling that they may be zeroing in on a few potential new cast members, and they all happen to skew younger. The concept wouldn’t be a new one for Bravo. It has long been suggested that Vicki Gunvalson was demoted on The Real Housewives of Orange County so the network could bring in a younger audience. Gunvalson appeared on the show as a full housewife for thirteen seasons. She has returned for Season 14 as a guest.

Precisely who these younger potential cast members could remain unknown. Right now, it seems like Bravo is in triage mode. They allegedly had no plans to replace Frankel, and it might be too late into the planning process to pull in a new housewife, at least for Season 12.

Could Jill Zarin return to the RHONY family?

Jill Zarin, a fan favorite on the show during its early seasons, might be willing to return to fill Frankel’s shoes. The pair have long had a complicated friendship, but now that Frankel is out, Zarin might be in.

The TV personality sat down with The Hollywood Life to discuss what’s been going on in her life recently. There have been some significant changes. Not only does Zarin have a brand-new pad in Midtown Manhattan, but she’s also building an extensive brand. Zarin is working on a décor collection that includes rugs, and she will be launching an outdoor collection for next summer.

Even with everything going on, she’s open to returning to the Bravo family. When asked if fans would be seeing her face on TV soon, she told The Hollywood Life “I’m open to all opportunities that come to me. I always say, say yes to everything; Or, you know, at least try to do everything and if it would work, if it could work out, sure.”

Luann De Lesseps, Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin
Countess Luann de Lesseps, Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin | Photo by Adriel Reboh/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

While her response has given fans of the show some hope that she’ll be back, nothing is set in stone. In fact, Bravo hasn’t confirmed that they’ll even be filling Frankel’s spot for the show’s twelfth season.