O.C. adds Housewives fan Alexis Bellino; Bravo casting for new NYC women

Bravo has confirmed it has renewed and is casting for The Real Housewives of New York City, looking for either new or possibly replacement housewives, and has also announced the replacement of one of the original O.C. women.

First, if you’re curious about how they find cast members, a New York Magazine report has interesting details (“Kelli, a junior who was brought to the audition by Real Housewife Jill Zarin’s daughter, Ally, a schoolmate”) about the casting of both shows (Bethenny “Frankel was approached for The Real Housewives by a producer at a polo match in the Hamptons, but initially turned it down.”)

Reports about Bravo’s search for new NYC women suggested that was because the women want six-figure deals, and as to those salary demands, one of the housewives, Jill Zarin, thinks everyone should get the same pay. She told Us Weekly, vaguely, that “in an ensemble cast, it’s hard to have demands because I think all women are the same. I think all women should be treated identically. I don’t think one is more valuable than other.”

But she also hedged slightly and basically said new cast members are less valuable, sort of: “I’m not saying someone new on the show would be valued the same as someone who’s been on the show three years. But I think that the cast is the cast. Take an ensemble like Friends. They felt the same way about each other, even though some became more famous than others and some were more liked. They all took care of each other, and I think that’s the way it should be.”

Meanwhile, Bravo announced that it has added Alexis Bellino to The Real Housewives of Orange County cast. She has three kids, and Bravo calls her “a 32-year-old spicy blonde who unabashedly lives life on her terms,” and says she “resides in the exclusive enclave of Newport Coast, Calif. with her husband, Jim Bellino, a self-made entrepreneur.” (Correction: An earlier version of this post said she was replacing another housewife, but despite being rumored to be leaving the show, Jeana Keough is returning.)

More interesting is the fact that she’s a self-professed fan of the show she’s now joining. “I’m an addict. I watch every single ‘Housewives of Orange County.’ I’ve always been very aware of it, very into it,” Alexis told the Orange County Register. Joining a show she watches, she said, “Yeah, I’m a little nervous about how the show’s going to portray me, of course. But anything to help me be a better person. The cameras are going to be right in front of my face. I’ll try to be the best person I can be.”

As to her connection to the other women, she said, “I’ve known quite a few of the cast members from social events and the Newport Coast circle. Gretchen (Rossi) and I have run around in the same circle of friends for the last few years. I’ve seen her at the last few events,” she told the paper. And once they started filming, she said, “Lynne (Curtin)’s a sweetheart. She doesn’t have a mean bone in body. Vicki (Gunvalson) and I joked and laughed and had a good time. But there’s drama anytime you get five women together.”

The NYC Reality Freak Show [New York Magazine]
… New York City Picked Up for a Third Season [Bravo press release]
Jill Zarin on Salary Dispute: We Should All Be Paid the Same [Us Weekly]
Meet the newest ‘Real Housewife of Orange County’ [Orange County Register]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.