But it turns out that one veteran Housewife helped her score that coveted spot on the NYC Housewives franchise.
A source reveals that Bethenny and Leah met through mutual friends and that “Bethenny introduced her to the show and recommended her.”
“Bethenny really knows what makes great TV. It’s her superpower. She saw a lot of potential in Leah,” a second show insider says. “The two have a lot in common; they’re both single moms and strong businesswomen. She would have been a strong ally to Bethenny, which she hasn’t had on the show since her friendship with [Carole Radziwill] fell apart.”
A show source adds, “Leah was in talks to join the show before anyone knew that Bethenny was leaving. Bethenny was the one who made the introduction to casting. She is by no means is a ‘replacement’ for Bethenny like everyone is saying she is because she was never meant to be on the show without Bethenny.”
However, Bethenny’s shocking departure, which she announced in August 2019, let producers scrambling to find a way to introduce Leah into the cast. Usually, a new Housewife is introduced to the group and viewers via a current cast member in order for the casting to feel organic.
A source explains that Leah had only met the cast through “test filming.” Now, Leah will be introduced to viewers via Tinsley Mortimer.
“The plan was to bring Leah on with Bethenny and introduce her to the group as Bethenny’s friend. But with Bethenny out and Leah already cast, they were stuck and needed to find a reason for Leah to make sense on the show,” the show source says.
“The truth is, Leah really didn’t know anyone one coming into filming,” the show source continues.
This move didn’t go over well with all the NY Housewives.
“Some were warmer to Leah than others. She’s made real friendships now but it’s not easy for her right away,” the cast insider continues. “Most of the anger went towards Tinsley, though. … Producers thought it would help connect her to the group but it only isolated her more.”
The source adds: “Leah is a great addition to the group, and really holds her own. But she didn’t know anyone before she started because Bethenny was supposed to be there with her, guiding her through.”
Season 12 of the Real Housewives of New York’s premieres Thursday, April 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.