Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon and others dropped from 'Real Housewives of New York City'
Not really naming names, the network released this statement: "Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps will be returning for season five of 'The Real Housewives of New York City.' We’ve had a fabulous run with all the ladies and appreciate them sharing their lives with our viewers. It is a friendly departure among the other ladies and we continue to have on-going discussions with them."
The confirmation comes after news began swirling this week as the four ladies' status on the show remained in limbo -- which seemed on the surface to be a negotiations ploy.
Zarin's publicist released this statement: "Jill is out of town with her husband Bobby and they are visiting her daughter Ally at college for family weekend so she is not speaking with the press. I can tell you that she is very happy and extremely busy with the national launch of her shapewear line Skweez Couture by Jill Zarin which will debut at Lord and Taylor stores across the country this month and then roll out at other national retailers in the coming months. Jill is humbled by the extraordinary amount of media interest in her response and looks forward to personally opening up about all of this very soon and announcing some exciting new projects."
Zarin had been on the show since it premiered in 2008.
McCord confirmed the news on Twitter, saying she was departing the show along with her husband, Simon VanKempen: "Nothing was decided until today, but as of tonight a decision has been reached. @SimonvanKempen & I are leaving #RHONY, sadly but amicably."
Barshop, who joined the series last season, said on Twitter that her exit was amicable: "I will not be returning to RHONY I left on great terms I loved getting to know all of u. Stay tuned much more to come!!"
Production on season five, which has already gone through a series of delays, is likely to start in a few weeks.
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: The cast of "The Real Housewives of New York City" in a photo from last season. Credit: Bravo