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Bethenny Frankel Reportedly Helped Cast Leah McSweeney On RHONY!

Bethenny Frankel apparently helped cast The Real Housewives of New York City's newest cast member Leah McSweeney on the Bravo hit reality series before leaving the series. A source close to Frankel says that the two had met through mutual friends, adding, “Bethenny introduced her to the show and recommended her,” a source told PEOPLE.

“Bethenny really knows what makes great TV. It’s her superpower. She saw a lot of potential in Leah,” a second show insider says. “The two have a lot in common; they’re both single moms and strong businesswomen. She would have been a strong ally to Bethenny, which she hasn’t had on the show since her friendship with [Carole Radziwill] fell apart.”

“Leah was in talks to join the show before anyone knew that Bethenny was leaving. Bethenny was the one who made the introduction to casting. She is by no means is a ‘replacement’ for Bethenny like everyone is saying she is because she was never meant to be on the show without Bethenny.”

Sources say that Frankel’s surprising decision to exit RHONY for a second time left producers scrambling for a way to let McSweeney fit in, as new cast members are typically connected to the group.

McSweeney apparently had only met the women through “test filming,” the source says. Now, Leah will be introduced to viewers via Tinsley Mortimer.

“The plan was to bring Leah on with Bethenny and introduce her to the group as Bethenny’s friend. But with Bethenny out and Leah already cast, they were stuck and needed to find a reason for Leah to make sense on the show,” the source told PEOPLE.

“The truth is, Leah really didn’t know anyone one coming into filming,” the source continued. “Some were warmer to Leah than others. She’s made real friendships now but it’s not easy for her right away,” the insider continued.

“Most of the anger went towards Tinsley, though. … Producers thought it would help connect her to the group but it only isolated her more.”

The source adds: “Leah is a great addition to the group, and really holds her own. But she didn’t know anyone before she started because Bethenny was supposed to be there with her, guiding her through.”

Photo Credit: Bravo