A note to Andy Cohen: maybe don’t make fun of people on national television if you rely on them later to save your shaky show.
Last year, Bravo exec Cohen took a crack at her ‘Watch What Happens Live’ chat show, suggesting that original ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ star Jill Zarin is desperate to return to the Bravo tune. .
But we’re told that in bitter (or sweet, depending on your perspective) irony, it was actually Zarin’s take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward Cohen’s so-called “Legacy” edition that sank entirely. – and she hadn’t forgotten the search either by the time she got to the negotiating table.
After the show’s thirteenth season went off the rails so catastrophically that the network had to cancel the standard reunion episode, network executives announced a grand plan to split the show in two, rebuilding the cast of “Real Housewives of New York City” from scratch, while launching the “Legacy” version with a cast of fan favorites from previous seasons.
As reported by Page Six, they sued current stars Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan for “Legacy,” as well as veterans Zarin, Kelly Bensimon, Dorinda Medley, and Tinsley Mortimer.
Oddly enough, as the two shows began to take shape, “Housewives” boss Cohen made a somewhat pointed joke at Zarin’s expense.
He said on his late-night show that former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Taylor Armstrong was set to return to Bravo, this time on “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
“She actually lives in Orange County. That makes her the first housewife to leave [a show based on one] city to another.
“In unrelated news, Jill Zarin is closing homes in Potomac, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Orange County, Atlanta, Miami, Dubai and Salt Lake City,” he said, listing all the cities hosting a series. of the show. “Just kidding! Love you Jill,” Cohen added.
But, as it turns out, far from jumping gratefully at the first offer to join ‘Legacy’, Zarin (perhaps unexpectedly?) played hardball during the negotiations – and walked away when the executives failed. did not respond to his requests. We’re told that after Zarin’s release, executives “lost interest” in the “Legacy” edition and called off negotiations entirely.
A source close to Bensimon told us at the time that negotiations had failed that, “[Zarin] pushing for a big payday was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
But a source close to Zarin tells us: “It wasn’t about the money. Jill just wanted all women to be paid the same. They started at the same time. They built the show together. She felt they should be paid the same. She would have done it for $1, as long as everyone was paid the same. (We are told that Bensimon was offered more than Zarin, and de Lesseps was offered more than Bensimon).
At the time, production insiders told us that all of the women seemed to vastly overestimate their worth.
The problem wasn’t that the show couldn’t go on without Zarin. Something of an Achilles heel for “Legacy” was that there wasn’t a huge list of “fan-favorite” New York “Housewives” in the first place.
Most “Real Housewives” shows have seven to 10 regular cast members, so once Mortimer, longtime actor Ramona Singer and former star Bethenny Frankel were counted out of “Legacy,” the network really needed everyone – including Zarin – on board to do the numbers.
Meanwhile, we’re told Zarin brought his tax situation into the compensation discussion. We’re told she lives more than half the year in Florida, so she doesn’t have to pay New York State taxes, so – if filming, promoting and other work related to television had to keep her in New York longer over six months of the year – she would have to be paid at least what he would charge just to break even.
Zarin and Bravo representatives declined to comment.