On this episode of Just B, Bethenny Frankel spends some time ruminating about her past with the Real Housewives of New York. She was a natural food chef at the time, pushing her Bethenny Bakes brand of health-conscious cookies, when a friend approached her about an opportunity to be on a reality show called Manhattan Moms. Bethenny wasn’t interested; she wanted to be on the Food Network with a cooking show, and since she had already done The Apprentice, she felt she couldn’t do another reality show so soon. “It was so different then, this is like the Dark Ages,” she says. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized “that it isn’t that easy to get on TV, and if it was a success then maybe it could lead to something, and if it was a failure then hardly anyone would know about it.”
They began filming, but Bethenny hadn’t even signed a contract yet. Bravo realized it when she came in to pitch her natural food cooking show idea; the executive asked Bethenny, “Aren’t you shooting a show for us right now?” “Yeah, but I don’t have a contract yet,” Bethenny replied. After that, Bravo didn’t allow any of their stars to start filming until their contracts were signed and sealed. And that’s not the only thing she changed: She made sure she retained full control of any business ventures she might undertake while working with the network. They were “infuriated” not to get a piece of her Skinny Girl margarita brand, and since then, there’s “the Bethenny Clause, where anyone on television working in that capacity has to give a percentage to the network.”
Though “I hated what it became,” she liked the early days of the show because of “the authenticity.” Since none of the cast realized they were meant to be part of a giant Housewives franchise, the conversations and relationships were a little more real than they are now. After three seasons, though, the show got bigger and bigger and “things got ugly, more competitive,” she recalls. “I realized, ‘Oh, this is Hunger Games. This is Game of Thrones.’” Hear Bethenny break down her real Real Housewives journey on this episode of Just B.
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