Season 5 of "The Real Housewives of New York City" saw the largest cast-change in "Real Housewives" franchise history. Four ladies, Alex McCord, Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop were fired and replaced with three new cast members, Aviva Drescher, Carole Radziwell and Heather Thomson, resulting in a double-digit ratings decline.
“It's very simple: Shows like 'Housewives' are about ratings,” one network executive tells The Huffington Post. “It’s not a high-class show like 'Mad Men' that wins awards and appeals to top-notch advertisers. That’s why such a dramatic ratings drop is so devastating.”
Season 5 became the second-lowest-rated season of the New York show dropping 26 percent in the 18-49 demo from season 4, leaving Bravo executives to debate whether to make more cast changes for the next season or move ahead with the existing cast.
“At the moment, it looks like all the ladies will be invited back, but alternatives are being discussed. Taping has been pushed back from January to the end of February until decisions have been finalized; at the moment, no cast members have been told they will be coming back,” one insider says.
“The show still gets a decent audience, plus, as the audience got to know the new ladies, ratings grew as the season progressed. The biggest question now is, will the three new ladies get a pay raise from the $40,000 per season they currently earn and will Ramona Singer and LuAnn De Lesseps be asked to take a pay cut from the $400,000 they get?”
A spokesperson for Bravo had no comment.