"Real Housewives of New York" is getting a facelift. For Season 5, Sonja Morgan, Ramona Singer and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps will be joined by Aviva Drescher, Heather Thomson and Carole Radziwill. The new trio replace former cast members Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop.
After fours seasons of drama, Turtle Time, trip meltdowns, dance songs and so much more, Aviva, cousin to "The Nanny's" Fran Drescher, said agreeing to the do the show wasn't the easiest decision.
"It was a very difficult decision to make, actually," Aviva told The Huffington Post on the red carpet of the 2012 TV Land Awards in April. "I don't want to pat myself on the back here, but it takes tremendous courage to go forward -- you're putting it all out there. Everyone knows the 'Housewives' get hung up by their toenails, I luckily only have five, so I can only get strung up by five. [Note: Aviva had her left leg amputated after a childhood accident and wears a prosthetic leg.] I think, ultimately, for me, it was a no risk, no reward kind of go forth with it. It really is a great platform to get a message out. It was a very, very difficult decision."
As with any cast shake up, there was some difficulty adjusting to the new faces, said Sonja -- who has been a part of "Real Housewives of New York" since Season 3. "Well, it was exhausting at first," she said. "You know, growing pains to incorporate three new people. It's always hard when you have one new person, but after we got in the swing of things, it was fine."
Sonja, who called her new castmates "fantastic," said she bonded with the new "Housewives" additions. "I'm the kind of person -- I meet people to like them, so anybody I meet, I bond instantly," she said. "In my heart, I'm kind of like Ramona. I'm a big mushy and love to love you right away, but once you like, cross me and I don't trust you anymore, then it's like 'OK.' The only difference is Ramona, she gets really upset and she doesn't let it go. Me? I'm sort of like, 'OK! Check. Done. Moving on.'"
Aviva said the veteran cast members were open to the three new castmembers. "There's definitely a lot of drama and you're definitely going to have to wait and see for all the drama, but I would say there was a warm welcome from all the oldies," she said.
On Season 5, the women of "Real Housewives of New York City" will hit the road once again, this time more than once. And like Scary Island and Morocco before it, the trips in Season 5 are filled with drama and yes, more meltdowns.
"It's horrible," Sonja said of the meltdown to come. "It's like, I don't even really believe it happened. It was on the trip, the last trip. I don't even believe it myself and I hope I never see anything like it again."
Sonja teased the epic moment led to her having one herself.
"I had a mini meltdown," she said. "Somebody had a huge meltdown and then I had a mini meltdown 'cause I couldn't believe I wanted to get to know them and trusted them and then I was like, 'Whoa!'"
The Season 3 trip to Scary Island gave viewers the wonderful term (and moment) known as "Turtle Time," and from a scene in the trailer, it looks like the new cast members meet Ramona and her pinot. "You were more drunk than I ever imagined myself in college," Aviva tells Ramona. When asked if she experienced "Turtle Time" during her time on the show, Aviva was happy to confirm.
"I have, I have. Yes, yes, yes," she said. "Tune in, tune in!"
"Real Housewives of New York City" returns Mon., June 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.