Housewives rule No. 1: Don’t blame the producers.
Rumors are swirling that embattled Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks is calling out the show’s production team for convincing her into spreading damaging lies about one-time friend Kandi Burruss. But Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen tells ET’s Leanne Aguilera, that’s not possible.
“People are not told what to say,” Cohen says. “We cast women with strong opinions and strong points of view. We can't force any of these women -- if you've ever met a Housewife, you know that. We can't force them to say anything.”
ET caught up with the Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen host and The Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel at NBCUniversal’s Upfronts presentation in New York City on Monday. They were promoting their new Bravo series, Then and Now and Keeping It Real Estate, respectively.
“Producers can't make you say something,” Frankel tells ET. “If you're a strong enough personality to be on these shows, then you can push back. But that's not how it really works … You're a grown woman.”
ET’s sources say Parks won’t be back for the series’ landmark 10th season, and Cohen hints at that being true.
“What I can tell you is, what you have to look at is where she stands with the group,” he shares. “When we left the reunion, she was on an island. None of the other women wanted anything to do with her. So, that's something that we'll look at as we figure out what to do with the show.”
“It's all about how it plays out in the group of women,” Cohen says of recasting each season. “That's what dictates everything.”
On the final installment of RHOA’s four-part reunion, it was revealed that Parks was the source of the rumor that Burruss tried to drug co-star Porsha Williams before a sexual encounter. Burruss fiercely denied the allegations all season long, and seemed dumbfounded when Williams exposed Parks as her source. The entire cast appeared shocked by the revelation, too, with Parks herself left speechless.
“You don't come for someone's livelihood and their kids,” Frankel shares. “I think Phaedra was one of those not-so-skilled, cunning masterminds. And, it exploded on her, you know? She was playing with fireworks and it backfired.”