THE first part of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion pulled in a massive 1.5million viewers – a season high – amid Erika Jayne’s ongoing legal drama, it has been revealed.
It began with a bang on Wednesday night as the controversial star finally addressed the widows, orphans and others who accused her and ex Tom Girardi of embezzling millions of their dollars.
Andy Cohen grilled the 50-year-old star after Season 11 wrapped and the ladies came back together for the ultimate showdown, which proved a huge hit with viewers.
Watch What Happens Live, also hosted by Cohen, later achieved 872,000 on Bravo, according to viewing figures seen by The Sun.
Fans took to Twitter to praise the reunion, with one writing next to a photo of Erika: “It’s a solid cast n dare I say that the lady in the picture had something to do with it.
“I know some of u will never admit it. But, it’s OK, u don’t have to like Erika but she draws in the viewers. And next season will even be better. This story is still playing out in real time.”
Another shared: “Viewers come for Erika but they STAY for Sutton and Garcelle holding her accountable.”
While a third commented on the audience figures: “WOWWW they killed it. I think this is the highest rated Housewives episode since the pandemic started?”
According to SpoilerTV, episode one of Season 11, which aired on May 19, captured only 949,000 viewers, a dip from previous ratings, but Erika’s drama seems to have helped the show recover.
ANDY WON’T HOLD BACK
During the reunion, Andy, 53, called out Erika and revealed he won’t hold back while questioning her about her legal troubles with Tom Girardi, 82.
“We’re gonna put you on a skewer and we’re gonna fire up the barbecue,” he said.
After asking why she didn’t leave Tom sooner, Andy pointed out that he had numerous affairs throughout their marriage and he put $20million into the RHOBH star’s bank account.
The host later asked the other Bravo stars who believed Erika’s claims that she was in the dark about Tom’s alleged wrongdoings.
Erika fired back: “Can someone please back me the f**k up on what I’m saying?”
Andy and Erika continue to argue throughout the clip as the Bravo boss accuses her of “manipulating” her story, adding: “It lands differently when there are air crash victims.”
She was also slammed for taking 11 months to address husband’s “alleged victims” in a “staged” statement during the show.
When Andy asked what the biggest misconception people have of her is, Erika insisted: “That I’m cold and have no sympathy.
“But I’m in an almost impossible situation. And anyone who has been wronged, I want them to be made whole.
“I’m talking about the alleged victims of the alleged wrongdoings from Tom and it’s important people hear that from me.”
💍 Follow all our latest news & stories on Real Housewives.
SIGNED FOR SEASON 12
Not only were people furious that Erika took nearly a year to address the people involved in the case, viewers were outraged she kept referring to them as “alleged” victims.
One person tweeted: “How incredibly tone deaf and privileged of Erika to call Tom’s victims, ‘alleged’ and then says she’s ready to “close this chapter” and calls it bulls**t.”
But despite her haters, producers will be pleased Erika has now officially signed on for Season 12 of the reality show, exclusively revealed by The Sun, after becoming the biggest star.
An insider said: “Erika is on board for the new season and production will begin in coming days.
“It was a no-brainer. She’s the most bankable star at the moment, and producers don’t want to miss a minute of this scandal – which continues to unfold day by day.”
“Erika still has supporters, despite her legal issues, and even those who hate her are tuning in to see this all play out on screen.”
Though production usually doesn’t resume for months after a season wraps, Bravo is picking right back up so they don’t miss a piece of the action, the source explained.
Erika doesn’t want the show to fully focus on her drama, but she “doesn’t want to shy away from it” either – and hopes some of the ladies will have her back more in Season 12.
The source added: “She hopes everything will be resolved, and people will finally start to believe her story that she’s innocent in all of this.”