UPDATE, 5:09 PM: Most of them are back for sure. “The Real Housewives of New York City will return on Bravo for season six,” a Bravo spokesperson confirmed today. “At this point, the returning cast members include Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson.” Note that LuAnn de Lesseps and Aviva Drescher are not on that list. A source says that doesn’t rule it out that they are returning with the others, as I reported on May 11, but right now Singer, Morgan, Radziwill and Thomson are the only Housewives Bravo is confirming publicly.PREVIOUSLY, MAY 11 PM: The Real Housewives of New York salary stand off with Bravo is over. Ramona Singer, Carole Radziwill, LuAnn de Lesseps, Heather Thomson, Sonja Morgan and Aviva Drescher today all signed off on their contracts with the cable channel I’ve learned. Details are sketchy but it seems the Housewives took the modest pay increases Bravo was offering for season 6 rather than continue to hold out for big raises and risk getting booted off the Big Apple version of the multi-city reality franchise. The cable channel also threw in a few more contractual baubles like covering expenses for additional hair and make-up for the cast. The group capitulation comes after a week that had seen the castmates holding up production on the new season in the hopes that they could get big raises. The Housewives yesterday had asked Bravo to give them the weekend to decide if they were going to take the agreement the channel was offering. Looks like they made their mutual decision a bit quicker.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY: When you think about it, they get paid to do little else but laugh, cry and most of all shout at one another. Yet the cast of The Real Housewives of New York want raises and now wish to call a time out in their salary battle with Bravo. I’ve learned that freshmen class Carole Radziwill, Aviva Drescher, Heather Thomson, as well as veteran seniors Ramona Singer, LuAnn de Lesseps, and Sonja Morgan, today asked the cable channel to give them the weekend to decide whether to sign the contracts offered. Radziwill even took to Twitter: “I still haven’t decided. Payscale is ridix + it irks me to be given ultimatums. Just ask my last 5 boyfriends.:)” The six women during these past few days of tense negotiations have stayed united in the face of Bravo‘s ‘are-you-in-or-out?’ deadline of today. The cast deliberately didn’t show up for what was supposed to be the beginning of Season 6 production earlier this week. Additionally they’ve told Bravo that none of them is signing until all of them are ready to do so. The six want raises. “They’re not asking for anything outrageous, just enough to cover their expenses for being on the show,” said one insider. But RHONY has been declining in ratings the past two seasons since housewife Bethenny Frankel left. Last week the Internet was abuzz with media claims that Singer and de Lesseps get paid around $500,000 a season, Morgan about $220,000, Drescher about $200,000, and Thomson $175,000. I’ve learned that Bravo now appears willing to wait a couple more days rather than recast immediately. Part of that tactic is the belief that the housewives might not stay united much longer. “Ultimately, some of them will do it, some of them won’t and Bravo can recast the show as is its right and move forward,” says a source.