Bethenny Frankel is stepping away from the “Real Housewives” franchise.
Variety has learned exclusively that Frankel is poised to exit Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of its upcoming twelfth season. Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the show’s third season. She then rejoined the show during its seventh season in 2015 and has been with it since. She has also made guest appearances on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and starred in the spinoff shows “Bethenny Ever After” and “Bethenny & Fredrik.”
Bravo did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
“I have decided to leave the ‘Housewives’ franchise to explore my next chapter,” Frankel said in a statement. “It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women. With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”
Frankel signed a deal with MGM Television and Mark Burnett back in March under which she will develop unscripted projects that she will executive produce and potentially appear on camera. According to an individual with knowledge of the deal, Frankel has recently taken meetings at both cable networks and streaming platforms to discuss producing new shows under the MGM deal. In addition, Frankel also has her Skinnygirl lifestyle brand and her B Strong charity, which has provided disaster relief to those affected by hurricanes in areas like Houston, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
The other main cast members on the most recent season of “RHONY” include Tinsley Mortimer, Dorinda Medley, Sonja Morgan, Ramona Singer, and Luann de Lesseps.
From the start of the show in 2008, Frankel was its breakout star. She was smart and funny, and appeared to be in on the joke. She was also not afraid to fight with the other cast members, leading to some of the show’s most quoted and GIF’d moments. She went from being a struggling natural foods chef to a mogul. After she returned to the show in 2015 after her five-year hiatus, RHONY’s ratings went up. But more important, the show once again became a fan favorite, which is what “Housewives” shepherd Andy Cohen, the former Bravo executive-turned-talk-show-host-and-producer, sought when he asked her to come back.
Frankel has never shied away from showing her life on TV, including revealing the painful toll her ugly divorce and custody fight has taken on her as well as how devastated she was after the death of her on again/off again boyfriend Dennis Shields in August 2018.
Kate Aurthur contributed to this report.