May 24, 2013 1:12pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Real Housewives' Salary Dispute: LuAnn de Lesseps Is 'New York's' Lone Holdout
The Real Housewives of New York City may not be able to count on the countess during the sixth season. Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is the Bravo series' lone holdout in the ongoing salary dispute that almost prompted the network to recast the series entirely.
A source tells The Hollywood Reporter that de Lesseps still refuses to sign a deal that would have her return to the reality series -- though, with production already underway, that offer is said to be for a less prominent role than the one originally on the table.
De Lesseps' reluctance is not shared by fellow cast member Aviva Drescher. The pair were the only two of the six cast members to decline deals when negotiations delayed production earlier in May, but Drescher has since conceded. She noted her deal in a Thursday tweet that said she had signed and started filming.
And while Drescher may have signed, it's not yet clear how prominently she will be featured. The source added that the decision on how much screen time the late addition will see in season six has yet to be made.
Sonja Morgan, Carole Radziwill, Heather Thomson and original cast member Ramona Singer all came aboard May 9 after a week-long standoff over what another source close to the cast called "unacceptable" salary offers.
STORY: 'Real Housewives' Salary Dispute: Four 'New York' Cast Members Sign Deals
In season five, de Lesseps and Singer were the only original cast members remaining on The Real Housewives of New York City, and de Lesseps is easily among the franchise's most recognizable faces. The 47-year-old former model has parlayed her reality fame into a singing career that she's showcased on the series.
Produced by Ricochet Television, New York City is Bravo's second-oldest Real Housewives series. It saw a 20 percent ratings dip during the most recent season, but it remains a robust hit for the cable network.