Saturday, February 29, 2020

Bethenny Frankel Opens Up About Quitting RHONY And Her New HBO Max Reality Show! Plus She Explains Why Her Show Will Be Different From The Apprentice!

Bethenny Frankel is opening up about landing her first new reality series on HBO Max since quitting The Real Housewives of New York City. During a recent interview, the Skinnygirl mogul was asked how her new reality competition reality series, “The Big Shot With Bethenny,” which will air on HBO Max came about for Frankel.

"I’m sort of like an idea hamster. So I had so many ideas for shows, and one of them was to find my successor. The show came out of the need. I’ve always had amazing, young, hungry, aggressive employees, but I’ve really still had to be the one directing them, and teaching them how to fish," she told Variety. "I’ve hired different brand managers and presidents; I haven’t really had a person that I felt could live and breathe the brand, understand it, and speak as me, make decisions as me, write as me."

"Maybe I’ll come close. Because the things that are most important to me are passion, drive and hard work. It’s not really about resumes. People that I’ve seen, maybe a busboy or girl, or a cocktail waitress who’s hustling — those are the people that work really hard. And that’s really all I ever look for."

"So long story short, I wanted to find my successor, and I realized that that would be an interesting show. Because the No. 1 question that I get at signings or in my messages is “How can I work for you? I’m obsessed with working for you.” And I think to myself, “Oh, God, be careful what you wish for.” People always say “it’s not personal, it’s business,” but for me, my business is very personal. So the lines are very blurred. And so you will have the opportunity to sit down with people at multi billion dollar companies and talk about brand strategy. But if my dog needs to walk, you’ll walk my dog. There’s nothing I ask anybody to do that I don’t do myself, even now. "

Frankel then revealed what she's looking for in the potential winner from her upcoming reality show.

"I don’t know about “take over.” Since changing careers recently, I’m spending more time nurturing the people that I’m working with, versus just expecting everybody to know how it should be done and then getting upset later. I’m very involved, and very in the weeds now. And the more I get in the weeds, there are days that I’m like, “Oh my God, why do I have to like write every comma?” Grammar still matters in 2020 to me," she told Variety. "And I don’t want to be the one having the biggest idea. If you are the smartest person in the room, then there’s something wrong. So I’d like to find somebody smart in different ways than I am."

Frankel then revealed why her new show will be different from The Apprentice, despite the comparisons.

"There are a lot of comparisons being made to “The Apprentice,” which is literally apples and skyscrapers. This is a lot of comedy. I’ve been on “The Apprentice,” and my friends when I came off were, like, “Why weren’t you funny?”  This is a lot more showing the personal side, and the warts. I’m not pretending my business is perfect, I’m not pretending I’m perfect. It’s showing really the guts of how to be successful in business," she shared.

"It’s a different format, and the way that people move in and out of this show is different. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s different. But also I have a multi-million dollar shapewear business, a multimillion dollar microwave popcorn business with Conagra. A very successful, high, high multi-millions of dollars supplement business that’s at Walgreens," Frankel continued. "So I have these businesses, some of them that have been around for a decade. And the things that really happen, I’m really partnered with HSN, and have a business there. So the things that are really true to this business will be part of the show, versus me just bringing in a random task for everybody to do."

"But it’s really my business, and I really need this person. The difference is, that was a show that came first. The show came first, and then him giving them that position came first. But here, it’s really the position needing to be filled that’s the reason for the show."

When asked if she was going to fire someone at the end of every episode just like The Apprentice, which she competed in the Martha Stewart version back in 2005, Frankel said, "Life isn’t so black and white. We have very traditional partners, and a very serious business when it comes to dollars and cents. But I have a very non-traditional way, in the sense that business and personal are very intertwined," she explained. "Because the business is me, when you’re the talent and the CEO, things overlap. I want to clarify “The Apprentice” distinction, because a lot of people are saying that. We just happen to be two people that are business people. And that’s amazing show to be compared to, but it is different."

Frankel then explains why she believes her show willbe more "authentic" than The Apprentice.

"Those weren’t Trump’s businesses. Trump at that time, I think, had a vodka, maybe a water and suits at Macy’s, if I’m correct. And that can show you that even the president can have brands that don’t succeed. But I’m going into the show with over 10 brands that are succeeding, from apparel, to popcorn, to salad dressing, to supplements — these are all real," Frankel said.

"So that’s why I think it’s a more authentic version of “The Apprentice,” because it’s really my business. And all these things are legitimate businesses being sold in Walmart and Walgreens and HSN. Real names, like Orville Redenbacher and Conagra. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I mean, it literally is my real business. So I don’t need to bring in a random partner to make up a task. The tasks are in my life every day. So I think that’s a great distinction and also a little bit of a — you know, a little pinch. Which you guys would probably enjoy. I’m sure he won’t."

She continued: "I’d like him to say something, and he probably will. Everyone thinks he’s going to mention it, because he was part of Mark Burnett too, and all that. But you know, it’s not the same. His brand at that time was not where my brand is. Aside from real estate."

Frankel also shared the difference between her and Trump. "His brand is not where mine is. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m starting on the show with a brand that’s elevated to a different level than he was, real estate notwithstanding."

Frankel then opens up about her decision to walk away from RHONY for a second time.

"I was possibly going back, but I just kept thinking: I discussed it with my boyfriend and my friends on beach walks. Everyone thinks I left because of money. I wasn’t leaving because of money, I was staying because of money. It no longer became this platform to promote my business, because I had done that, and there was more promoting sort of new and questionable businesses than the legitimate ones at this point, if that makes any sense," she told Variety.

"So it wasn’t the platform anymore. It was really the paycheck, which was, you know, astronomical at that point. And so I was staying because of money. And I just thought to myself, a bartender, a high-class prostitute who’s making a lot of money, you gotta sometimes make a move, and just say, “Let me just do what feels right to me.”

"There was some little conversation back and forth that was not financial. And it just was like a sort of just a moment where I said, “You know what? I’m out.” I just was out," she continued. "And I remember Jill [Fritzo, Frankel’s publicist], who’s on this phone call was like, “Wait, what are you saying? Are you sure?” I had to deal with this, because they were starting to film, and I thought to myself, “I’m out. I’m just out.” And Jill’s like, “Wait, what do you mean? Once you’re out, you’re out.” I said, “I know. I’m out.”

She added: "It’s taken me longer to order a pasta dish than just to decide this. I just was looking for a reason. And I just was ready to do it. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I mean, honestly — I just didn’t."

Photo Credit: Sasha Maslov via Ad Week

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