USA News

Bethenny Frankel sparks a reality TV revolution over payments

Bethenny Frankel on Wednesday called for reality TV personalities to stop shooting new content until they start receiving residuals, and many stars voiced their support for her proposal.

Frankel, 52, is perhaps best known for being an original member of the hit Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of New York City, which she was featured on for eight seasons beginning in 2008. She has since starred on other reality shows, as well as launched the successful lifestyle brand Skinnygirl and the Just B podcast.

Last week, the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike, causing many Hollywood productions to grind to a halt. In two Instagram videos, Frankel said reality stars should make similar demands as actors and writers about residuals from their work appearing on streaming channels.

“‘Reality reckoning’ is what I’m calling it,” Frankel told Newsweek. “We’re [reality TV stars] are the losers. The misfits get the scraps. And the losers are who Hollywood is going to rely on right now to fill the gap during this strike, like we did the last strike. I urge that not to be the case.”

 Bethenny Frankel, Blue Outfit, New York City
Bethenny Frankel is seen outside the “Today” show on June 27, 2023, in New York City. Frankel has suggested that reality stars should join writers and actors by going on strike.
Raymond Hall/GC Images

“Why isn’t reality TV on strike? I got paid $7,250 For my first season of reality TV and people are still watching those episodes,” Frankel said in one video.

“I myself have generated millions and millions of dollars in advertising and online impressions being on reality TV, and I’ve never made a single residual,” she said in the clip. “So, either I’m missing something, or we’re getting screwed too.”

Frankel went on to say other reality television personalities are getting paid “peanuts” for shows they taped years ago that viewers still watch. She then went on to call out Bravo, the cable network which airs The Real Housewives of New York City and many other reality programs.

“Anyone shooting a Bravo show should not be shooting until they get paid residuals for all the other episodes that they’ve ever done, or those episodes should be taken down,” she said.

Newsweek reached out to Bravo via email for comment.

Frankel told Newsweek that while reality stars should receive residuals like actors, she doesn’t think they should join with SAG-AFTRA, “because we have different matters that are different issues, and we’re not respected by the traditional entertainment industry.”

She also said her message wasn’t meant so much for top stars like her but for others.

“I am the exception, not the rule. Me making money is because I’m extremely smart and knew what I was dealing with and grew up at the racetrack. This is not designed for me because I have more than I could ever want,” Frankel said. This is for the girl who gets paid $7,250 In her first season and said something she regrets that she has to watch on television and on T-shirts and on YouTube for the rest of her natural-born life and make no money on it.”

Soon after posting the first video yesterday, Frankel received immediate responses from other reality TV stars.

Fellow The Real Housewives of New York City alumni Aviva Drescher replied to Frankel in the comments section of her Instagram post by writing, “YESSSSSSSS!”

Stars of other reality shows also joined in praising Frankel’s message.

“Agreed! I been saying this but they will hear you better than me,” NeNe Leakes, of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, wrote.

“Preach! My finale episode of Project Runway in 2008 had 10 million views I didn’t get one penny from any of it (Weinstein was producer too),” Kenley Collins wrote.

“Wish I had your brain when I signed my life away haha. I’m with you!!!” Kaitlyn Bristowe, who appeared on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Dancing With the Stars, said.

Vicki Gunvalson from The Real Housewives of Orange County added: “Totally agree! We should be getting residuals for all the times they have used our footage. I got paid $0 season.”

Frankel, who recently launched what she called a “direct to consumer” show on YouTube, described to Newsweek her reaction to the response she’s gotten from fellow reality TV stars.

“I’m not surprised, because I just hit a nerve,” she said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button