According to a new report, producers are looking to recast three women from the show, including the soon-to-be-incarcerated Jen Shah, in hopes of bringing a lighter vibe to the series after its “dark” third season, which highlighted Jen’s crimes against the elderly and Heather Gay‘s mysterious black eye.
“They held auditions in the fall,” a participant revealed to Page Six. “They were looking to replace three of them. They hadn’t decided if some of the ‘friends of’ would be promoted or if they’d find new talent.”
Although Bravo has stayed mum on casting details for the new season, the outlet revealed Heather, Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, and Lisa Barlow are “safe,” which seemingly confirms season three “friends” Angie Katsanevas, Angie Harrington, and Danna Bui-Negrete will not return.
“They’re trying to bring in new women to lighten it up,” the insider explained, noting that producers are searching for “over-the-top” women.
“It’s true that they are considering new Housewives,” a second source confirmed.
As RHOSLC fans have surely heard, Jen, who will begin her 6.5-year sentence on February 17, was expected to film a one-on-one interview with Andy Cohen after skipping the reunion. But she ultimately backed out, which likely secured her exit from the series.
“I will not be doing the 1:1 with Andy Cohen and Bravo because of their unwillingness to remove contractual provisions that would allow the network to legally make misrepresentations of me and my story,” Jen explained on Instagram last week.
During her own interview with Page Six at the Sundance Film Festival days ago, Meredith addressed the cast shakeup.
“I think we need people who are going to help bridge the gap. Obviously, we’re very divided right now. That’s a problem,” Meredith admitted. “It’s obviously really hard to have events and do things when we’re not getting along. So hopefully we have some people who can come in, lighten the mood and bridge the gap.”
Although none of Meredith’s RHOSLC castmates were present when she and husband Seth Marks celebrated the launch of their new podcast, Hanging by a Thread, at Sundance, a showrunner who was in attendance was reportedly heard saying production on the new season was set to begin in three weeks.
“It’s coincidence that it just sort of all unfolded together, and it’s just a lot,” she shared. “It’s very heavy, and sometimes life is heavy.”
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season three reunion begins Wednesday, January 25, at 8/7c on Bravo.