When it comes to producing Bravo's The Real Housewives, Andy Cohen has his eyes on the prize. In this case, that means casting the women who will mesh well with the other cast members but who also fit into the Housewives paradigm.
So when it came to popular cast members, Bethenny Frankel, Kim Zolciak, and newcomer Lisa Rinna, Cohen admits he wasn’t so sure.
"I was initially wrong about [Frankel]," he reveals in an upcoming Watch What Happens Live special airing on May 26. "Because I, initially, when I saw the first casting of New York, was reticent about [her] because [she] had been on The Apprentice. And I thought that that was weird at the time. Isn't that funny?”
Frankel, who was part of the original New York City cast, left after three seasons only to return for the show’s seventh season. Cohen now admits that Frankel was “born to be a Housewife.”
When it came to Atlanta, which started the same year as NYC, Cohen says he was hesitant over Zolciak because she was “this white woman.” “I just didn’t get it,” the 46-year-old producer says.
Needless to say, she became one of the most popular and polarizing cast members, eventually leaving Housewives halfway through season five. (Zolciak stars in her own spin-off, Don’t Be Tardy, which was renewed for a fourth season.)
The most surprising admission came when the topic turned to Lisa Rinna, who quickly became the ire of Kim Richards when she joined Beverly Hills in season five.
“You know Lisa Rinna was on the first casting tape for Beverly Hills,” Cohen says. "In the first season of Beverly Hills, I thought 'I don't see it. It's weird. It's not what this show is. But then last year I wanted her on."
And good thing he added her. Rinna and newcomer Eileen Davidson quickly became fan favorites and we can never imagine traveling to Amsterdam without them.
Look back on all the drama between from season five, which found Richards battling with everyone, including her sister Kyle: