According to a source, NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak are demanding more money to appear on the show than Bravo cares to dish out — and producers are so fed up with their diva-esque requests, they’re quietly making plans to move on without the two.
“Bravo has been taking meetings with some notable and wealthy Atlanta women about possibly joining the show,” says the insider. “They’re trying their best to keep the process under wraps, but they’re gearing up to make a major move in the third season.”
The insider dishes that the newest Southern socialite will either join the already-rowdy Atlanta crew as a sixth housewife — or replace NeNe or Kim.
“Tameka isn’t very popular in Atlanta,” says the source, who reveals that the 39-year-old was initially in the running. “The producers asked each one of the women how they would feel if she were cast, and they all said that they’d walk. That’s the one thing they’ve been united about.”
The network does feels strongly about bringing back two of the more well-behaved Housewives: Kandi Burruss and Sheree Whitfield, who share screen time with Leakes, Zolciak and Lisa Wu and seem to be the most popular of the controversial crew. Our source says Bravo will let them stick around for as long as they’d like.
“Kandi was a fan favorite last season. Her audience approval ratings were through the roof,” the insider explains. “And Sheree’s clothing line [She by Sheree] and her catch phrase, ‘Who gonna check me, boo?’ were definite standouts.”
Bravo had no comment, while reps for Leakes and Zolciak didn’t respond to calls by deadline. But fans of the reality show can rest assured that the rocky negotiations won’t interfere with production.
“Things with NeNe and Kim have been intense,” says the source, “but Bravo feels the show is about the franchise as a whole and won’t let one person stop it.”