‘RHONY’: Is a Man Really Replacing Bethenny Frankel?

Bethenny Frankel took everyone by surprised when she announced she was quitting The Real Housewives of New York City. With Season 12 starting production there have been many rumors as to who will replace her. The latest talk on the subject points to a man being named a “housewife” which would shake up the franchise greatly.

Bethenny Frankel quit 'RHONY' ahead of Season 12
Bethenny Frankel quit ‘RHONY’ ahead of Season 12 | Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Bethenny Frankel leaves ‘RHONY’

All the RHONY housewives were expected to return for Season 12, until just a few days before production was to commence. Frankel sent shockwaves through the Bravo-verse when she confirmed she wouldn’t return to the show.

“I have decided to leave the ‘Housewives’ franchise to explore my next chapter,” Frankel said in a statement via Variety. “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.”

Bethenny Frankel
Bethenny Frankel | Rodolfo Martinez/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

The outspoken RHONY star also thanked the network that made her a household name.

“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,” she ended her statement.

Jill Zarin open to making ‘RHONY’ comeback

As soon as Frankel announced her exit, fans of the franchise suggested Jill Zarin as a replacement. The entrepreneur has previously mentioned she has pondered on the idea of returning to the Bravo show.

“The show did such amazing things for me,” she told Life & Style. You know, I’d like to go back in some ways but in some ways, you know, it’s a scary proposition because Gary is dangerous and you know he’s gonna get me in trouble. Friend role is great, friend role is the best because I never did it for the money, it was never about money for me so yeah, it was more to have fun and I think that it would be fun but you know if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”

In a more recent interview, Zarin hinted that she would return.

“All I can say is they’ve started filming and I’m here,” she told the People. “I’m at the tennis event today. Watch and see what happens, as Andy Cohen says.”

Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin of 'RHONY' fame
Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin of ‘RHONY’ fame | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Bravo producers open to fill the spot with a man

In a revelation to Housewives fans from all the cities, there are rumors that a man could be thrown into the mix to shake things up. Men have caused drama in the franchises, but have only been featured, never have they been an official castmember.

“At the moment, nothing is off the table,” an insider told the Straight Shuter podcast. “Producers are always looking to tinker with the formula to make sure the show doesn’t get stale.”

The Season 11 'RHONY' Cast
The cast of ‘RHONY’ Season 12 will go on without Bethenny Frankel | Rodolfo Martinez/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Casting a male would be a gamechanger and it would be in tune with Frankel’s casting for the inaugural RHONY ensemble.

“Over a decade ago the show was focused on casting married ladies with children, [and] there was outrage when Bethenny Frankel, a single lady without a child was cast,” the source added. “Now most of the women are not even housewives.”

According to Radar Online, the source also said: “It isn’t clear if the guy will be a gay man who runs the home while his husband brings home the bacon, or if they go with a straight stay-at-home fella, whose wife is the bread winner.”