After the explosive finale and three-part reunion to The Real Housewives of Salt Laky City, it would seem that Monica Garcia is out of the franchise.
But, not so fast.
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The Bravo reality series and Garcia are taking a break — a “cooling off period,” Andy Cohen clarified Wednesday. That means the door for her return is still open, a source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter.
Speaking on his Radio Andy show the morning after season four concluded with the third and final reunion show, the executive and reunion host said of Garcia’s current status with the show: “We are going to have a cooling off period, I think.”
When pressed by his co-host John Hill about what a “cooling off period” means, Cohen explained that the women are currently not in a position to forgive Garcia, which makes it unlikely they would film with her again. Complicating things is the fact that season five picks up its cameras soon, with production starting Feb. 5.
However, he didn’t totally shut the door.
“Well, here’s the thing. I think the reunion is the chance to come out, say why you did [and] what you didn’t on the season. It’s the Supreme Court of public opinion,” said Cohen of what Garcia did not accomplish by the end of the cast get-together. “So Monica, I think, had the opportunity, not only to explain herself to the audience, but way more importantly in this case, to the other women. And I don’t think she successfully swayed any of them to her side.”
He continued, “She didn’t. And at the end, I really went around, because I was thinking, ‘OK, well let’s hear it from them all right now: Where do you stand with her?’ And they all expressed they very much don’t trust her. What I was also asking was: Is there a path forward for you and Monica? And the answer was no all around. So I think that it’s best — we all discussed it ad nauseam — that it would be best to let this one breathe for a while.”
Still, he noted the possibility she could return: “She’s obviously really compelling television. Maybe she’ll be able to build some inroads with the women on her own, off camera. And we’ll see if that happens.”
When speaking to The Cut also on Wednesday, Garcia said she didn’t apologize to the other women because of how the reunion played out. “I didn’t have it in me to give a half-ass apology because it’s what people wanted to hear, because it would make me look better in the moment,” she said. “I want to get to a place where I can actually sit down and have a civil conversation about this and give a genuine apology. But at the reunion, on that stage, in the situation I was in, it would not have been a real apology, so why even say it? at the reunion, on that stage, in the situation I was in, it would not have been a real apology, so why even say it?”
And if her actions lead to her not returning for season five, she said, “That would be a cast and Bravo decision. It would not have been my decision.”
Garcia, who joined the cast in season four, was revealed to be behind a fake Instagram troll account, RealityVonTease, that targeted the other women in the cast. Castmate Heather Gay called Garcia out in the finale in a Bravo moment that has since gone viral (“Receipts! Proof! Timelines! Screenshots!”), catapulting the reality show into having a moment.
At the center of the crossroads for the both the cast and creative team with Garcia is the deception, as the producers were also unaware of Garcia being behind the account until Gay uncovered the evidence. When speaking to THR ahead of the final reunion show airing, the executive producers behind Real Housewives of Salt Lake City said they had “about 7,000 conversations” about whether Garcia should return.
“We probably have another few hundred ahead of us still,” said Noah Samton, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming senior vp production. “She is a great castmember. She’s open and vulnerable and she represents a different kind of person in Salt Lake than we have on the show. She comes from a different background and there’s a lot about her that the audience can relate to in a way that’s different from the other women. But at the same time, there’s the deception, there’s the relationship with the other castmembers. It’s a really complicated puzzle. From a rating standpoint, you would want to find a way for her to come back. But it’s really challenging in this situation. We’re just trying to figure it out.”
So, never say never.
Jan. 24, 1:20 p.m. This story has been updated to include Garcia’s quotes to The Cut.
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