NeNe Leakes was quick to shoot down rumors that she had been fired from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but her future seems less than certain.
As concerns about her Peach mount, NeNe is reportedly desperate for job security ... and wants her very own spinoff.
A report last week claimed that NeNe Leakes had been fired by Bravo, not invited to return for Season 13.
This came as a shock for multiple reasons.
And judging by her Twitter activity, no one was more shocked by the claim that NeNe herself ... who insisted that it was not true.
NeNe vowed to her fans and followers that she would be the first to tell them if she were to, for whatever reason, leave Real Housewives.
Bravo also confirmed that NeNe had not been fired.
Interestingly, it appears that the rumor was rooted in at least some truth.
She is said to still be in the midst of heated negotiations with Bravo.
As to the content of those contract negotiations, we cannot say for certain what the sticking points may be.
The usual gripes are salary and screen time, but apparently there are broader "conversations" at NBCUniversal that may have to do with the process.
Now, The Sun is reporting that NeNe is trying to lay the groundwork for a fallback -- or something better.
She is reportedly shopping around with other networks to see if she can get her very own reality series.
And NeNe is doing this behind Bravo's back.
According to the report, she wants to secure a show so that when Bravo does one day let her go, she'll have a new project.
That won't just be good for her financially -- it will give her the opportunity to save face and, therefore, boost her brand.
There are just a couple of problems with that plan.
First of all, NeNe allegedly approached E! for a shot at a spinoff.
E! is one of the few networks with programming so similar and compatible with Bravo's and the budget to potentially pay NeNe.
However, the report says that E! was simply not interested in an all-NeNe show, and didn't think that their audience would be, either.
The other problem is the same issue that has NeNe reportedly balking at signing on for Season 13 -- her contract.
It has been reported that Housewives have to sign no-compete clauses as part of their contracts, barring them from other reality gigs without Bravo's permission.
We have to imagine that NeNe's beefy contract had a similar clause.
That doesn't mean that NeNe has exhausted her options, but ... she may have to swallow her pride and sign the contract.
Whatever her new situation may be, whether it's taking a pay cut or simply not getting a mega-raise, sounds better than losing her Peach.
Yes, NeNe did once negotiate a massive raise after taking one season off. But times have changed.
Just a couple of years ago, no one would have dared suggest that NeNe take a pay cut.
Now, reports say that she is being asked to make significantly less money to continue on the show.
In other words, this is the same thing that happened to Kenya Moore in Season 11.
What's interesting is that NeNe and Kenya's fights have been directly linked to a huge ratings surge in Season 12.
Their explosive fights are eye-catching. Eye-catching means more ratings. Ratings mean more money.
So why would Bravo even risk NeNe walking away and costing them those sweet, sweet viewers?
Our guess is that Bravo knows that the same storyline can and will get old. It
Vicki Gunvalson's final couple of seasons in Orange County were filled with drama, and she often took center stage.
But her endless fights with Kelly Dodd were nothing new, and they showed the OG of the OC the door. Is NeNe next?
Presumably, not if she signs on with whatever Bravo is offering her.
If she is once again a ratings juggernaut, she can always renegotiate for a whopping salary boost next time.
In the mean time, wouldn't she prefer to retain her Peach and see where this next year takes her? Most people would literally kill for a job like hers.