5:10pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Real Housewives' Salary Dispute: Four 'New York' Cast Members Sign Deals
Four of The Real Housewives of New York City have resolved their contract dispute with Bravo.
After threatening to recast the entire cast amid a salary standoff, the cable network announced Monday that season six was moving forward -- though only four members of the most recent cast have signed new deals.
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"The Real Housewives of New York City will return on Bravo for season six," read a statement from Bravo. "At this point, the returning cast members include Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson."
Cast members LuAnn de Lesseps and Aviva Drescher are not among those who have signed, and while the network wouldn't comment on their fate, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter they could still be on the show.
Production on the sixth season was set to begin May 8, but none of the six women made themselves available for filming after receiving what another source close to the cast called "unacceptable" salary offers. Bravo threatened to pull the plug on the planned season when the women suspended production, but the six were ultimately given the weekend to sign new contracts.
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With de Lesseps and Drescher holding out, the series still could be at least partially recast. The loss of de Lesseps, in particular, could be seen as a loss. The Countess joins Singer as one of the two original cast members, and she is easily among the most recognizable faces of the Real Housewives franchise.
New York City, the second-oldest in the Bravo franchise, is produced for the network by Ricochet Television, and though ratings slipped about 20 percent from season four to season five, it remains among Bravo's most-watched series.
If Bravo does part with de Lesseps and Drescher, the six women would hardly have been among the first shown the door. More than 20 cast members have either left or been fired from the series' six different iterations since Orange County kicked off the franchise in 2006.