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Bravo Tells Striking ‘Real Housewives of New York’ Cast to Stand Down or You’re Fired (Updated 5/13/2013)

May 11, 2013 149 comments

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UPDATE May 13, 2013: The battle in the Big Apple is over! The women were bitterly fighting all the way to the end, and they still didn’t really get what they wanted. “These ladies were really trying to get more money out of Bravo but they were desperate to stay on the show,” a source close to the situation explained. “No one wanted to leave and they felt like they were strong-armed by Bravo. The Housewives really thought if they all stuck together they would get a huge bump in their salaries, but it didn’t work and instead they were told to either take the small increase or leave the show, and leaving wasn’t an option.” Aviva was one of the lucky women, getting a bump from $60,000 to $100,000, but the source said all of the women had all hoped for larger increases. “It costs a lot of money to keep up the lifestyle that the show wants these women to portray and they tried to get Bravo to up their salaries, but when they tried to play tough the network had more leverage in the end.” Now that the Housewives have new contracts, they’re going to have to really step up their game the source said. “The women have to do more than just throw wine at each other, there has to be some excitement in the season or else the network might just get rid of them once and for all.” [RadarOnline, May 13, 2013]

Erica ‏@EricaCooper
@CaroleRadziwill @GraceIn2013 I could see your point if U were on Jersey. THAT is a war zone! LOL! I hope it works out.

Carole Radziwill ‏@CaroleRadziwill
@EricaCooper @GraceIn2013 Haha! Thats true. This is harder than war.

Carole Radziwill ‏@CaroleRadziwill
@plainviewsue @bravo Comcast…the parent company announced record earnings 1.4billion in first quarter. Wow. #wagegap

Live, Laugh, Love ‏@GraceIn2013
@CaroleRadziwill Wow. I used to work in production so I know that must be low. Doesn’t make sense since they doubled R & L’s salary last yr.

Carole Radziwill ‏@CaroleRadziwill
@GraceIn2013 I was paid more at ABC as an associate producer and that was in the 90s!

Erica ‏@EricaCooper
@CaroleRadziwill @GraceIn2013 Everyone got paid more in the 90s! (Plus didn’t you go to war zones?)

Seth Bowling ‏@sethtbowling
@CaroleRadziwill you shouldn’t turn down a PAYING job that only increases your exposure to make MORE money #RichPeopleProblems

Carole Radziwill ‏@CaroleRadziwill
@sethtbowling your’e an idiot. getting my picture taken doesn’t pay my bills. people should get paid a fair wage for a job done well. duh.

Seth Bowling ‏@sethtbowling
@CaroleRadziwill it’s a recession and its an EASY job. Thanks for saying I’m an idiot, but if I had opportunities to SHINE on TV I WOULD!

MIKE ‏@holler82
@CaroleRadziwill we want u back Carole! Real & not down w/ the fake BS!

TheWrap reported on May 11, 2013, that Bravo told striking ‘Real Housewives of New York’ cast to stand down or you’re fired. The following is their story:

Negotiations between Bravo and the cast of “The Real Housewives of New York” for Season 6 are at a standstill. The women have delayed production by banding together in “Friends-Style” negotiations for higher paychecks.

But, Bravo isn’t about to be manipulated by the striking cast members.

And contrary to other reports, it never considered canceling the series over the salary standoff, individuals close to the production told TheWrap. The network is determined to call the women’s bluff and not give in to their demands.

“They’re getting greedy and feeling entitled,” one insider said about firing the entire cast if they don’t stand down. “They are all replaceable.”

The four women (Ramona Singer, Heather Thomson, Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher) who received offer letters had already been given raises over last season’s salaries, which have been reported to range from $175,000 to $500,000 a season.

Additionally, the women are able to augment their salaries by marketing their other business ventures and products on the show. So, the network has no intention of giving them any more money.

Clearly, the women banding together is the worst case scenario, especially since it has delayed the start of production this week. But, Bravo won’t allow the alliance to win and risk having the casts of its other series doing the same type of group negotiation.

Bravo has at least three possible replacements waiting in the wings in case negotiations didn’t go well with any of last season’s cast members. And the network has no doubt that it could find more New York City ladies to fill the other roles.

It should also be noted that the aforementioned four housewives were the only cast members officially invited back. That means that Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps have very little bargaining leverage.

Providing further perspective on the negotiations, a former New York cast member told TheWrap:

“No woman really leaves ‘Real Housewives’ by choice.”

The cast members have too much to lose when they’re no longer able to leverage their exposure for promoting their products, getting media attention for their charities, etc.

Moving on with a totally different cast does have its risks. After replacing four women on Season 5, the season became the series second-lowest rated of its run. So, of course, there’s some worry inside the company over whether ratings will suffer if it replaces the entire cast.

The insiders told us that the network is willing to take the risk of totally recasting “RHONY” to make sure that it sends a strong message to the casts of its other shows.

 Related:

RHONJ Former Producer Says Caroline Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita and Kathy Wakile May Not Be Returning for Season 5 of RHONJ; Cast Salaries for Season 4 Totaled $1.23 Million; RHONJ Season 4 Ratings (Updated 12/21/2012)

September 27, 2012 255 comments

The transcript below is the continuation of an interview conducted by the cousin of a former RHONJ post production supervisor. The cousin recorded the interview on September 17, 2012. The interview is a piece for another country on the reality of reality television and is not just about the RHONJ. The source forwarded parts about the RHONJ to Fame-Whorgas for publishing with the purpose of reading fan comments to get a different perspective on the transcript before publishing the piece on the country’s news website. My source saw that people were doubting the legitimacy of the interview when part 1 was published on September 23, 2012, so has given me permission to post the following:

“I was asked by my country’s main news website to write a piece on the reality of reality television. My cousin worked on RHONJ, so I asked for an interview. The interview was only given because RHONJ does not screen in my country, and I promised anonymity. We also don’t have any BRAVO shows on television here. I called my cousin in Washington and spoke for 20 minutes before realizing I would have to watch the RHONJ to understand what was going on and who was who. So I went online and watched every episode and called back a few weeks later. The second interview (which was recorded) was an hour and a half and mentioned numerous shows from TLC and Oxygen, but I have edited it down to the relevant parts, mainly due to privacy for my cousin.”

On Next Season

Q: “Cast changes for next season?”

A: “With the casting for the next season, that decision is made before the reunion episodes — we try to tie up any loose ends during the reunion to complete the women’s character arc and give the viewers a satisfying conclusion to the character that they have invested in over the series.

Q: “I know you said you’re not part of season 5, but can you tell me anything? I’m curious as to how the show would carry on after so much drama has spilled into the cast’s real lives.”

A: “I’m not involved next season, but I know Jacqueline and Kathy were not made offers, so Jacqueline won’t be back but look for Kathy to return in a limited capacity. Currently three women are under consideration to join the cast.”

A: “(edited*****************************) Caroline was made an offer to return and declined — it is possible she is waiting for a bigger offer ($$) or has something up the pipelines. She had only participated in season 4 so that her children would get exposure for their business ventures. She knew it (being a Real Housewife) would one day end, so she made sure her children had established themselves in their own businesses. I don’t like to have personal feelings about cast, but I do admire her — she had a plan going into season 3, and that was to use this platform to assist in setting up her children financially.”

(edited out)

Q: “Was Jacqueline fired for not attending the reunion (season 3)?”

A: “No, the producers didn’t want her there. The morning of the reunion, Jacqueline was threatening to expose Teresa and couldn’t be calmed down. (Names removed) had gone over to talk to her after she sent tweets which revealed plot points of the finale (edited*****************************). No one was to mention the fashion show, but Jacqueline kept saying she was finished and was going to expose Teresa at the reunion. Chris was worried about Jacqueline’s mental state, as she had not slept all night and been drinking a lot later in the night when all of the cast, minus the Giudices, met after the show for drinks. (Name removed) was more concerned about the reunion but knew it would confuse the large TV audience if Jacqueline was attacking her ‘friend’ (since the viewers were watching season 3). So, at the last minute, the call by the producers was that Jacqueline was not going to attend. The reunion episode was then edited with introducing what had happened at the fashion show to keep all of the twitter and blog fans happy and to tell them, ‘we know you are aware of what is going on, so we are going to mention it and move on’.”

Q: “And Melissa? Will she be back?”

A: “Yes (abridged due to privacy of source), she will definitely be back.”

Q: “Melissa’s sisters?”

A: “No, no, we get what they try and do on twitter and it takes the sparkle off the series; they won’t be housewives anytime soon.”

Q: “And you said earlier about Kathy not being asked back — so the big question is, do you know if Teresa is back next season?

A: “Teresa is 100% safe on housewives. I think you will find next season the format of the show will change dramatically.”

(edited out)

On September 25, 2012, the source e-mailed me this exchange with the producer cousin about the RadarOnline story: ‘Giudice Family In Talks With Bravo For Breakout Show

Q: “Is this true?”

A: “It’s true that they are looking at giving them a spinoff but Teresa will still be on season 5 of RHONJ with Melissa.”

Teresa Giudice is the top earner among all the women who appear in the various franchises, taking in a whopping $600,000 per season! Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Ramona Singer of The Real Housewives of New York City pull in a cool $500,000 each per season. After castmates Alex McCord and Jill Zarin got the boot last season, the two remaining NYC stars were given huge raises – nearly doubling their salaries, according to Star. Orange County’s Vicki Gunvalson, the only member of the Southern California show who’s been featured for all eight seasons earns $450,000 per season. Fan favorite NeNe Leakes, who now appears on NBC’s The New Normal and has previously appeared on Fox’s Glee, pulls in $350,000 a season for her loud-mouthed antics on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. [RadarOnline, December 19, 2012]

Salaries of RHONJ Cast Members for Season 4

Dp on September 27, 2012 said at Fame-Whorgas:

Caroline $265,000
Albert $12,000
Chris $35,000
Albie $35,000
Lauren $27,000

Teresa $355,000
Joe $38,000
Gia $5,000

Jacqueline $240,000
Chris $14,000
Ashlee (for season 3) $22,000

Melissa $65,000
Joe Gorga $45,000

Kathy $50,000
Rich $10,000
Victoria $8,000
Joseph $8,000

So I can understand why Caroline needs to think about it — it’s nearly half a million dollars to her family a year.

Shooting Schedule for Season 4

  • Washington, DC Fancy Food Show – July 8, 2011
  • Melissa takes Gabriella, Milania and Antonia to Sweet & Sassy for manicures and pedicures – July 11, 2011
  • Jamie Laurita’s wedding – July 23, 2011
  • Beatstock 2011 in Farmingville, NY – August 20, 2011
  • Caroline’s Birthday - August 23rd or 24th
  • Cast Arrives in California - August 28, 2011 (cast spends 2 nights at Half Moon Bay RV Resort and 1 or 2 nights at Cassini Ranch)
  • Caroline’s Birthday Dinner in the Vineyard - September 1, 2011
  • Final Dinner at the House with the Big Blow Up Between Caroline and Teresa - September 2 or 3, 2011
  • Posche Fashion Show (Season 4 Finale) – September 27, 2011
  • Taping of the Reunion Special for Season 3 – September 28, 2011
  • Fashion & Beauty Week 2011 at the Pleasantdale Chateau – October 3, 2011 (Caroline, Jacqueline, Melissa & Kathy attend and blacklist Teresa and Kim D)
  • Teresa’s Fabellini Launch Party (Taped for Season 4) – October 7, 2011
  • Sirius XM Radio to Launch ‘Real Housewives Radio’ (Taped for Season 4) – October 8, 2011
  • Jacqueline tweets that Teresa is scum, etc. during premiere of reunion 3 – October 16 & 23, 2011

Ratings for WWHL and The Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 4

Reunion Special Season 3, 3.4 million viewership (Part 1, October 16, 2011; Part 2, October 23, 2011)
Episode 1, 2.9 million viewership (High Tide, Low Blow) – Premiered April 22, 2012
Episode 2, 2.2 million viewership (Poker Face)
Episode 3, 2.5 million viewership (Third Eye Blind)
Episode 4, 2.3 million viewership (Drowning Pool)
Episode 5, 2.3 million viewership (Spoiled Sports)
Episode 6, 2.5 million viewership (Uncivil Union)
Episode 7, 2.3 million viewership (True Love, True Lies)
Episode 8, 2.7 million viewership (Best Friends for Never)
Episode 9, 2.9 million viewership (Public Display of Rejection)
Episode 10, 2.3 million viewership (Temporary Shrinkage)
Episode 11, 2.5 million viewership (The Sniff Test)
Episode 12, 2.6 million viewership (The Jersey Side Step Premiere)
Episode 13, 2.3 million viewership (Sit Down and Man Up)
Episode 14, 2.1 million viewership (Pack Your Baggage)
Episode 15: 2.2 million viewership (If This RV is a Rockin’)
Episode 16: 3.0 million viewership (Whine Country)
Episode 17: 3.1 million viewership (Hot Tub of Sour Grapes)
Episode 18: 3.0 million viewership (Dinasty of Denial)
Episode 19: 2.7 million viewership (Bald Canary Sings)
Episode 20: 3.4 million viewership (Strip Down Memory Lane)
Reunion Special: 3.5 million viewership (Part 1)
Reunion Special: 3.6 million viewership (Part 2)
Reunion Special: 3.3 million viewership (Part 3)
Lost Footage Episode: 1.6 million viewership

WWHL 1.7 million – Joe and Melissa Gorga; May 6, 2012
WWHL 1.7 million – Joe and Teresa Giudice; June 17, 2012
WWHL 1.4 million – Mike Tyson and Melissa Gorga with Joe Gorga as Guest Bartender; July 8, 2012
WWHL 1.5 million – Kathy Wakile and Vanessa Williams; July 15, 2012
WWHL 1.5 million – Caroline Manzo and Megan McCain; July 22, 2012
WWHL 1.3 million – Teresa Giudice and Renee Graziano; July 29, 2012
WWHL 2.4 million – Andy’s 1-on-1 interviews with Caroline Manzo and Teresa Giudice; August 26, 2012
WWHL 1.8 million – Teresa Giudice and Perez Hilton; September 9, 2012
WWHL 1.9 million – Jacqueline Laurita and Theresa Caputo; September 16, 2012
WWHL 2.0 million – Melissa Gorga and Mario Lopez; October 14, 2012
WWHL 1.1 million – Caroline Manzo and Yvette Nicole Brown; October 21, 2012

For season 2 ratings (before Melissa’s and Kathy’s first season), click here.

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale Reunion Special
1 10 May 12, 2009
2 18 May 3, 2010 August 23, 2010 August 30, 2010 (Part 1 of 2)
3 21 May 16, 2011 October 9, 2011 October 16, 2011 (Part 1 of 2)
4 24 April 22, 2012 September 23, 2012 September 30, 2012 (Part 1 of 3)