A Bravo EP reveals how and why ‘Real Housewives’ get fired

Credit: Bravo
Credit: Bravo /

Real Housewives come and go, but the franchise is forever. Executive producer Ryan Flynn reveals what factors determine a “departure.”

When Real Housewives of Orange County returns this summer, Heather Dubrow will no longer be with us. When Real Housewives of Atlanta returns this fall, Phaedra Parks is gone. Eden Sassoon is out of Beverly Hills and despite her best efforts, Jill Zarin is not on RHONY anymore. Departures, rumored firings and triumphant returns are all part of what keeps the show fresh and just shy of ugly. And according to a Bravo producer, it’s usually mutual too.

Ryan Flynn, an executive producer on RHONY and Beverly Hills, told the network’s Daily Dish Podcast awhile back that more often than not, a Real Housewife’s departure is a mutual decision. The woman in question usually have other interests or perhaps is no longer as invested in airing her drama for the world. For whatever reason, “everyone knows the time is just right.” It is, he says, “a process and it’s a discussion.”

Usually, Flynn added, the show won’t turn over too much of the cast at once — only one or max

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two at a time. He remembered when they let three women on RHONY go at once and the hard shift in the show frustrated a lot of the fans.

When the Bravo producers do let someone go though, the reasons are usually fairly mundane. As Flynn said on the Daily Dish:

"Whether it’s a first season Housewife that just didn’t click or never sort of found the rhythm, or whether it’s someone who’s been on many seasons who is just a very different person from when we started with them and their life is in a place now where it just maybe doesn’t make sense for us to be sort of in their lives every day."

Some Housewife departures — like the aforementioned Phaedra Parks — are mired in scandal, but even in Parks’ case, reports suggest her leaving the show had far more to do with her willingness to disclose her personal life to the level RHOA calls for and less to do with the libelous Kandi Burruss’ rumor.

So, as it turns out, perhaps the behind-the-scenes Bravo casting shenanigans are less dramatic than what the women themselves deliver.

And with the show’s apparent willingness to welcome back the wives with open arms, Bravo’s judgment hasn’t really steered us wrong yet.