10/04/2011 04:04 pm ET Updated 6 days ago

Real Housewives LuAnn De Lesseps, Ramona Singer Get Huge Pay Raises

LuAnn de Lesseps and Ramona Singer are not only rejoicing that they're the only original "Real Housewives of New York" still standing; they're also celebrating a massive pay increase.

"In the fourth season, LuAnn, Ramona, Jill [Zarin] and Alex [McCord] all earned $275,000 for 16 regular episodes plus a one-day reunion taping that was shown as two episodes," an insider tells me. "So in total it was $275,000 for a total of 18 episodes. But now that Jill and Alex have been fired, LuAnn and Ramona are getting $500,000 to tape 18 episodes. That's almost $28,000 an episode.”

Taping for the new season starts this week with three new cast members -- and the drama is already on.

"Nothing causes drama more than asking all the ladies to do the same amount of work and paying some more for it than others," one of the ladies tells me. "Sonja [Morgan] and the new ladies are not earning anything like the money LuAnn and Ramona are, and that is already causing tension -- plus, a very unlikely friendship between past enemies LuAnn and Ramona. It's way too early to know how all this is going to play out, but early meetings have gone great."

A Bravo spokesperson declined to comment on the ladies' huge raises, saying the company doesn't discuss financials. However, the spokesperson did confirm that with every season comes an increase.