OK! has exclusively learned former E! host and current Daily Mail TV correspondent Alicia Quarles, who is married to husband Michael Ross, has joined the hit Bravo franchise for its 13th season.
Quarles, a well-liked fixture on Manhattan’s social set and fashion scene, quietly inked the deal in recent weeks, according to multiple source.
It is part of a major push from the network to “increase diversity,” an insider told OK!.
Even some of Bravo’s own had encouraged Bravo to diversify casting. Bethenny Frankel said in 2017 that she encouraged producers of the New York series to break out of its racially homogeneous casts.
“Alicia deserves to be on the show because of who she is,” said the source. “But there is no doubt that recent events across the country provided a reckoning for television producers, and the Housewives have not been immune to that.”
Page Six reported last year fans of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise “can’t help but notice the lack of diversity” on several of the franchise’s iterations.
Though the Beverly Hills edition just locked down its first black “Housewife” in Haitian-American actress Garcelle Beauvais, cities outside of Atlanta and Potomac, however, have yet to welcome black, Latinx and Asian women into the fold, The Post reported.
The New York Times also took a critical eye at the issue and noted while there are some shows in the Bravo lineup that feature diverse casts — competition shows like Top Chef or Project Runway — the “issue of segregation is considerably noticeable among the network’s crown jewel, Real Housewives, and its spinoffs.”
In a scandal earlier this year, the network was forced to fire two its Vanderpump Rules stars, Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, after their one-time cast mate, Faith Stowers, a black woman, revealed the pair reported her to the police for a crime she didn’t commit in 2018.
One season wonders Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni were also fired from the show for past racist tweets.
In an interview with The Times prior to the firings, Stowers said the show’s figurehead, Lisa Vanderpump, made a conscious decision to hire her in 2015.
“When I first got there, Lisa did have a sit-down with me and her publicist,” Ms. Stowers said. “They just told me straight-up, ‘We don’t have a lot of color on this show, and you would make a good asset to that.’”
“I kind of knew going into it that I would be filling in for the spot of, like, showing that she hired people of color.”
According to her profile on management site WME, Quarles joined E! from The Associated Press where she was the Global Entertainment and Lifestyles Editor, overseeing a staff of more than 60 people.
Quarles graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California, where she met her husband.’
UPDATE: A Bravo rep confirms Quarles has met with casting but added “she has absolutely not been cast.” A source said: “Alicia has just simply met with the casting agency for RHONY as have numerous other women who have been recommended by the current New York Housewives. That is as far as the discussion with Alicia has gone.”
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