Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images;Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor
They're rich, they're fashionable, they're New Yorkers -- but are they the new Real Housewives of New York City? Following the news that Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop have been fired from the Bravo series, People reports that three powerful women have already been selected to take their place. Who are these ladies, and how do they stack up against remaining cast members Ramona Singer, LuAnn DeLesseps and Sonja Morgan?
The first name on the list is Carole Radziwill, a former ABC News producer whose late husband was the son of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' sister. (That makes him JFK's nephew, and her a Kennedy by marriage.) She's the author of the best-selling memoir What Remains, for which she went on an extensive media tour -- meaning she has plenty of TV experience. She also writes a monthly Glamour column called "Lunch Date," in which she interviews the rich and famous. Basically, Bravo won the lottery if they got her!
Next up is Heather Thomson (pictured in the inset above) a fashion designer who has helped Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Lopez and Sean "Diddy" Combs launch their clothing lines. A married mother of two, she created a successful shapewear line called Yummie Tummy for her own post-pregnancy body.
Last but not least is Aviva Drescher, a philanthropist and "Wall Street wife" with three children. All three new cast members fit the rumored new direction of the show: more money, more prestige and generally more like the California Housewives.
"They want rich, rich women, like Adrienne Maloof and Camille Grammer, dripping in glamour and $10 million penthouses," a source told the New York Post this past spring. "And they don't want to fake it."
Even so, that doesn't necessarily explain why they fired Zarin, Bensimon, McCord and Barshop, who all seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. (Morgan, meanwhile, filed for bankruptcy last fall.) Here's one possible explanation: It's Ramona Singer's doing. According to Us Weekly, the Pinot Grigio-loving jewelry designer suggested the new cast members, in an effort to get Zarin kicked off the show.
"(Singer) came to Bravo with a few pals she thought would make good additions," says the magazine's insider. "Bravo decided to go with the new girls and not Jill, so Ramona basically ran her off the show."
Singer has denied the story, saying she doesn't have the power to make casting decisions. But Cindy Barshop says she believes that show's infighting had a lot to do with the casting changes.
"Following the reunion it was clear that the women genuinely didn't like each other anymore," she told ABC News.
Zarin, however, says that the catfights were all just part of the game.
"There's no question there was fighting going on," she told Good Morning America. "But I believe the format of the show encourages that. And even if someone doesn't say to you to have a fight or whatever, you feel like you're supposed to."
Did Jill take the need for drama too far? Some people think she's out because she made more enemies than friends. "Jill caused a lot of problems," another insider tells Us. "Her castmates were upset with her, since she'd tweet all these negative things. Karma's a bitch."
Bravo has yet to confirm any new cast members.