If anyone had anything substantive to say about Bethenny Frankel’s current campaign against Bravo and the Real Housewives franchise, it would be her first Real Housewives of New York cast mates. But when asked about Frankel’s attempt to “delete” the franchise by a fan during a panel for Ultimate Girls Trip: RHONY Legacymoderator Michael Rapaport shot down the question.
“Does this look like a goddamn takedown,” Rapaport asked, pointing to the crowded convention center ballroom before shouting, “Next!”
Rapaport, an actor who recently appeared in a pickle costume The Masked Singer, was introduced at the top of the panel as a “huge Bravo fan.” His moderation didn’t seem to get a surplus of love from the public. He was booed for cutting off a second audience question – not that any of them were remotely controversial. However, before castmate Kelly Bensimon continued with the Frankel moment, he did manage to say a few words.
“She just emailed me and asked if I wanted to be on her podcast,” said Bensimon, who appeared on stage with fellow former singer. Real Housewives of New York Starring Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, Sonja Morgan and Kristen Taekman. “I told her I would visit again in 2025.”
Bensimon appeared in three seasons of The Real Housewives of New York before leaving Bravo for nearly a decade. Frankel, who has used her platform to rally around uniting reality talent and rethinking what she describes as an exploitative work environment, recently refers to Bensimon in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. On stage, Bensimon described her return to the housewives franchise as ‘enlightening’.
No doubt aided by Rapaport’s questioning style and rapport with the audience, there were no questions about the only missing cast member of Ultimate girls trip: Ramona Singer.
On October 30, accusations of past racist statements and insults from Singer resurfaced in a Vanity fair story featuring the voices of several alumni, including New York cast member Eboni Williams, the first black woman ever cast on the show. The story alleges that Singer used the N-word during a conversation with a Black crew member during production of season 13 of the series, although a resulting network investigation was deemed “inconclusive.”
Singer was quickly removed from the BravoCon lineup the day after the story was posted, before reportedly losing another one of hers income streams.
What’s interesting about the women on the panel is that they were all essentially let go. Medley was dropped in 2020. A year later, at the end of the 13th season, the entire cast – including original leads Lesseps and Singer – was axed in the interest of starting over with a new group of women. Executives briefly considered a “Legacy” cycle with previous castmates before adapting the idea to include it in the Ultimate girls trip franchise.
As for the new cast of the The Real Housewives of New York, they appeared, except for Jenna Lyons, during the Saturday session of BravoCon. The show still needs to be renewed. But earlier that day, executive producer Andy Cohen voiced his support for a reboot housewives cast when it makes sense. “I think it showed us that it can be done, and that it can be done well.” he said during a Q&A with Rachel Lindsay.
Cohen also addressed the Singer situation, albeit briefly. “I think the most we can say is that we shot Ultimate girls trip” said Cohen. “She’s on the show. She’s not here and that’s where we are.’
Lindsay replied: “And that’s fine with me.”