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Is 'The Real Housewives of New York City' getting a facelift?

Has Bravo finally had enough of "The Real Housewives of New York City’s" diva antics and outrageous outbursts? According to multiple sources, four of the housewives — Cindy Barshop, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Jill Zarin — will not be returning for the show’s fifth season.

For anyone who watched this past season, especially the reunion specials, it was plain to see tensions were high and the relationships between some of the women had reached a point of no return. The women had even divided into their own set of catty cliques- “The Brunettes” vs. “The Blondes.” Zarin, who is notoriously the most vocal of the cast, seemed to be captain of Team Brunette, with Cindy, Kelly and Luann serving as her minions, and launched multiple verbal attacks against the Blondes. 

Ramona, Sonja and Alex made several futile attempts to defend themselves against Team Brunette with some screeching of their own, but Jill’s squawks and Kelly’s unsuccessful attempts to be the voice of reason tuned Team Blonde out. At one point, reunion host and Bravo exec Andy Cohen had to yell at the women like a kindergarten teacher to take turns speaking. There has been no report that this behavior had anything to do with Bravo’s casting decisions, but perhaps some new blood will ground these women and deflate the swollen egos this show has cultivated.

Despite the rumors, sources from Bravo say no final casting decisions have been made. Zarin’s rep told Us Weekly, “The truth is that Jill is still in discussions with Bravo for season 5 and hasn't made a final decision about returning to the show,” while Barshop tells HuffPost Celeb, “Nothing is 100 [percent] decided yet, it could go either way.”  McCord and Bensimon have released similar statements, maintaining that nothing is certain. In a statement on her and husband Simon van Kempen’s Facebook, McCord says, “Simon & I are still under consideration for season 5 & we'll know one way or another very soon. I have to laugh at all the purported 'insiders' giving 'off the record' quotes. Some of the things I've read are frankly just absurd.”  However, in an interview with New York Live, Countess Luann de Lesseps reveals, “Apparently there are 3 or 4 women being traded in and out.”

If these rumors are true, the series will be left with recording artist and author de Lesseps, entrepreneur and pinot grigio enthusiast Ramona Singer, and sweet and sassy Sonja Morgan, but can these three women carry the show?  Although de Lesseps has always been the most logical of the housewives, graciously providing the other women with helpful etiquette tips (which you can read more about in her book Class with the Countess), she may be lost without her BFFs Jill and Kelly, especially since Ramonja (the nickname for the dynamic duo of Ramona and Sonja) will still be intact.  Jill’s strong opinions and Jewish chutzpa and Kelly’s endless supply of sweets and nonsensical commentary will be missed, but whether or not anyone will miss Alex’s newfound confidence and blind loyalty to her husband is still to be determined.

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