“The reason that Bravo didn’t want me on, Andy Cohen didn’t want me on, was because I was already on a reality show,” the Real Housewives of New York City alum, 50, said during the Thursday, October 21, episode of her “Just B With Bethenny Frankel” podcast. “So, I had some slight — basically no — awareness. Like, I was nobody, but to him that was, ‘You had a preexisting profile,’ meaning they wanted it to be real.”
In his new book, Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of the Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It, author Dave Quinn writes that the Bravo exec, 53, told him he didn’t want the Skinnygirl founder to be on the show at first.
“Andy talks openly about having some bad decisions,” Quinn told Us Weekly exclusively on Monday, October 18, ahead of the book’s release. “He wasn’t really interested in Bethenny. … She had been on [The Apprentice], and it was this idea about, ‘Is it going to be a shark-jump moment to have another reality star on the show?'”
Frankel participated in the first and only season of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, a spinoff that aired in the fall of 2005. She eventually finished the series as the runner-up, losing to Dawna Silvia. Though the show was not as popular as the original Apprentice, it did technically make the Place of Yes author famous.
“They wanted it to be real people in New York that are not famous, that didn’t have a preexisting profile,” the Bethenny Ever After alum explained on her podcast, adding that more recent members of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast wouldn’t have made the cut in the early years of the Housewives franchise.
“That’s why Lisa Rinna didn’t get on for years,” the Naturally Thin author claimed of the former soap opera star, 58. “Andy used to say me, no, he wasn’t interested in her, and I used to say, ‘She’d be great.'”
The Real Housewives of New York City premiered in March 2008, while Beverly Hills debuted two years later. As Frankel pointed out, original RHOBH cast members Kyle Richards and Kim Richards were former child stars, but they hadn’t acted in many years when the show premiered. Actresses who’d worked as adults — including Rinna, Garcelle Beauvais and Denise Richards — didn’t join the series for several seasons.
Quinn, for his part, thinks the decision to hire Frankel was brilliant. “I think we can all agree that Bethenny really just — it was such a lightning rod that first season,” he told Us. “She works. I think she’s a great reality star.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi