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the unstoppable bethenny frankel

If You’re on Team Bethenny, Bravo Has Got You Pegged

We'll just let this speak for itself.

In an extensive story about Bravo's audience-based decision-making process, the Times caught up with The Real Housewives of New York City's Bethenny Frankel and, like the rest of us, the gray lady has quite a bit to say about her. First they imply that Bravo Bethenny isn't quite like real-life Bethenny:


"[Frankel] walks into Fig & Olive ... and exchanges cheek kisses with Bravo producers and cameramen. [The producers] tell Ms. Frankel ... how good she looks ... Bravo and its new star then temporarily put reality on hold so they can film a reality show."

Bravo, according to writer Stephanie Clifford, divides its core audience into four categories: "Wills and Graces," or "cosmopolitan, upscale men and women," "P.T.A. Trendsetters," or cool moms, "Metrocompetitors," the urban men who like pop culture, and "Newborn Grown-Ups," post-college twentysomethings. “We only talk to those very specific groups,” said a Bravo producer. They also listen to those groups, and Clifford argues that Bethenny's online popularity with this audience earned her a spinoff: "In marketing terms, Bravo is just extending its product line." But then, as life so often does on this network, things take a sudden turn, and Clifford starts taking digs at LuAnn de Lesseps and Jill Zarin:

"Model-turned-fourth-wife-of-a-count"? Oh no she didn't! That's like calling someone "the first one naked in your swimming pool." It seems like Clifford was ultimately fooled here: At first seemingly determined to analyze Bravo's business decisions, she clearly got into Housewives spirit and took Team Frankel. So is she a "P.T.A Trendsetter" or a Grace?

"Ms. Frankel proved popular from the start. While some of the women seemed to have grandiose notions of themselves — one insisted on being called “the countess” since she was a model-turned-fourth-wife-of-a-count — Ms. Frankel was self-deprecating."

"Model-turned-fourth-wife-of-a-count"? Oh no she didn't! That's like calling someone "the first one naked in your swimming pool." It seems like Clifford was ultimately fooled here: At first seemingly determined to analyze Bravo's business decisions, she clearly got into Housewives spirit and took Team Frankel. So is she a "P.T.A Trendsetter" or a Grace?

We'll Make you a Star (if the Web Agrees) [NYT]

Photo: Getty Images / Photo-Illustration: Mike Vilensky and D.J. Baskin