May 30th, 2011

Bethenny Frankel Lands the Cover of Forbes Magazine


Photo copyright Terry Aley 2011


For over a week I had been borderline neurotic trying to get my hands on a copy of the current issue of Forbes magazine. I knew this issue was hitting the stands about two weeks ago, and also knew I certainly wanted to discuss this. You see, Forbes isn’t People magazine. Getting on the cover requires a lot more than just a TV show – it requires money.

There had been rumors circulating that Bethenny Frankel made $120 million for the sale of her Skinny Girl Margarita. Forbes places Bethenny at number 42 on this year’s Celebrity 100 List. And most importantly, gave her the cover of the magazine. Forbes places the sale of Skinny Girl to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global at $100 million, while her show Bethenny Ever After approximately earned her a meager $700,000 for the entire season. Her earnings for the year were put at $55 million. I don’t know if that means she had $55 million left after broker fees and taxes from the Beam deal, or if she actually only pocketed $55 million. I know, I just said “only pocketed $55 million.”

For comparison sake, here is what a few other celebs made on the list. Keep in mind, you’re not ranked by income alone. (Oprah earned $250 million and still came in second under Lady Gaga who earned only $90 million.)

Justin Bieber – $53 million

Donald Trump – $60 million

Tiger Woods – $75 million

Dr. Phil – $80 million

Jennifer Aniston – $28 million

Rush Limbaugh – $64 million

Howard Stern – $76 million

Charlie Sheen – $40 million

Ellen – $45 million

Sandra Bullock – $15 million

Julia Roberts – $20 million

It’s not an easy task to make $55 million a year. It’s possible Bethenny could be a billionaire sooner or later, but it won’t be an easy task replicating another year with this much cash. This could be her highest point, or it could be the beginning of her trek towards Martha Stewartdom.

Forbes put together a great story covering several pages full of information, including some information I hadn’t heard before. But hey, it’s their cover story so they need a good, thorough story. If I haven’t heard some of this, it’s new information because I read EVERYTHING relating to all the Real Housewives and former Real Housewives.

You can actually read the entire article by clicking here. Some of the more interesting quotes:

Ever After, now shooting its third season, averages 1.6 million viewers each week. Her books–Naturally Thin, Skinnygirl Dish and A Place of Yes–are bestsellers. There are rumors of a development deal for a daytime talk show. A half-million people follow her on both Twitter and Facebook. Type her name into Google and you get 3.8 million hits.

Less than two months after she signed her deal with Beam Global, Frankel was hit by a complaint from former business manager Doug Wald of Raw Talent, claiming fraud and breach of oral contract. Wald is seeking $12 million in fees and $100 million in damages, alleging he is entitled to the fee for introducing Frankel to her talent agency, APA, which brokered the sale of Skinnygirl drinks to Fortune Brands, even though he was fired two months after she hired him in August 2008. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” says Frankel. “I guess it’s a sign of success. I won’t be bullied by a frivolous lawsuit.”

Two separate Beam launches, single-serve margaritas and a new sangria flavor, will be featured on the upcoming season of Ever After. “This is my baby,” Frankel says. “I need to be the one taking care of it. Lucky for both of us, Beam got that.”

Skinnygirl Shapewear is a licensing deal with Dreamwear, the New York City lingerie producer that also holds licenses for the trademarks of Marilyn Monroe and Playboy. Up next? An online personal-training service, a fourth book and a skin-care line called Skinnygirl Face & Body. “I was going to call it Honest by Bethenny, because that’s what it is, honest skin care,” says Frankel. “But it would be an outlier in the brand.” Skinnygirl Face & Body will be produced by another New York City manufacturer, Lotta Luv, which will package bath bubbles and pomegranate body scrub in containers that look like Frankel’s margarita bottles. It may sound silly, but it’s savvy cross-promoting. “I’m creating a line that will market and sell my alcohol brand,” she says. Then it will be on to soft drinks, sauces and maybe a children’s clothing line. Frankel is also discussing an apparel deal with a major retailer to create a “store within a store” that can showcase all of what Skinnygirl has to offer. Which big chain? “Target is my target,” she says coyly. “It’s the perfect place for me.”


Bethenny becoming a financial superstar does not mean other Real Housewives will be able to follow suit. There are many Bravo TV “characters” trying to launch this or that, but for the most part, it’s all a bust. The big problem is the likability aspect. If the majority of viewers and fans simply don’t like you, or “love to hate you,” they certainly won’t go out and spend money on your products. It’s all about being authentic, letting down the facade, owning up to mistakes, sharing your success with others and listening. And by listening, I don’t mean to the sound of your own voice. But with most TV reality stars, we watch to see the train wreck. That’s why there may not be another Bethenny rising out of Bravo TV fame. And if one does manage to pull off some success, Bravo may have re-written the contracts to make sure THEY get a big piece of the pie.


Email me at editor@terryaley.com. You have permission to link back to stories in chat forums or your own blogs. Follow me on Twitter, username: rawveggies!


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