The cable network will recast the show, but canceling the series isn't an option
Negotiations between Bravo and the cast of "The Real Housewives of New York" for Season 6 are at a standstill. The women have delayed production by banding together in "Friends-Style" negotiations for higher paychecks.
But, Bravo isn't about to be manipulated by the striking cast members.
And contrary to other reports, it never considered canceling the series over the salary standoff, individuals close to the production told TheWrap. The network is determined to call the women's bluff and not give in to their demands.
"They're getting greedy and feeling entitled," one insider said about firing the entire cast if they don't stand down. "They are all replaceable."
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The four women (Ramona Singer, Heather Thomson, Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher) who received offer letters had already been given raises over last season's salaries, which have been reported to range from $175,000 to $500,000 a season.
Additionally, the women are able to augment their salaries by marketing their other business ventures and products on the show. So, the network has no intention of giving them any more money.
Clearly, the women banding together is the worst case scenario, especially since it has delayed the start of production this week. But, Bravo won't allow the alliance to win and risk having the casts of its other series doing the same type of group negotiation.
Bravo has at least three possible replacements waiting in the wings in case negotiations didn't go well with any of last season's cast members. And the network has no doubt that it could find more New York City ladies to fill the other roles.
It should also be noted that the aforementioned four housewives were the only cast members officially invited back. That means that Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps have very little bargaining leverage.
Providing further perspective on the negotiations, a former New York cast member told TheWrap, "No woman really leaves 'Real Housewives' by choice."
The cast members have too much to lose when they're no longer able to leverage their exposure for promoting their products, getting media attention for their charities, etc.
Moving on with a totally different cast does have its risks. After replacing four women on Season 5, the season became the series second-lowest rated of its run. So, of course, there's some worry inside the company over whether ratings will suffer if it replaces the entire cast.
The insiders told us that the network is willing to take the risk of totally recasting "RHONY" to make sure that it sends a strong message to the casts of its other shows.
Update: Carole Radziwill tweeted the following, "I still haven't decided. Payscale is ridix + it irks me to be given ultimatums. Just ask my last 5 boyfriends.:) What about you? Irksome?"