Atlanta is already heating up with lots of Real Housewives drama – behind the scenes.
Sheree Whitfield’s return this season to Bravo’s top-rated franchise was announced weeks ago, but now Daily Mail Online has exclusively learned it’s not the deal she was hoping for – she claims she was duped by a reality show producer.
Whitfield, ex-wife of NFL star Bob Whitfield, thought she would be reclaiming her status as a full-time member of the cast following the departure of NeNe Leakes and a backroom deal she brokered with the show’s former executive producer Carlos King.
‘Here she thought she was returning to pick up where NeNe left off as one of the original cast members, but now her episodic run is as limited as Demetria McKinney’s was last season,’ a source tells Daily Mail Online.
Duped: Real Housewives star Sheree Whitfield says the deal she made with show producer was for a full-time gig, but she learned she will only appear in 10 to 12 episodes in Season 8
The 45-year-old fitness guru, a fan favorite, was upset when she learned she would only be featured as a part-time friend on the eighth season of the show.
Whitfield thought she was returning as a full-time peach-holding cast member and that Bravo would promote her return in the same vein as Bethenny Frankel’s to the Real Housewives of New York.
‘Sheree didn’t get a contract for the show until after she started production on Season 8.
‘She was several weeks into taping when the network presented her a contract for a limited number of episodes, much to her surprise,’ a source told Daily Mail Online.
According to the source, Whitfield met with the reality show producer earlier this year and pitched him a concept – a show about African-American real estate agents in Atlanta.
When Whitfield departed from the show three years ago she went on to get her real estate license and had been selling properties since.
She wanted to be featured in the new show along with several other women she knew were also having success in the world of real estate and believed King could help her sell the show to a network.
‘Without telling Sheree, Carlos started pitching the show to networks and WE TV became interested,’ claims the souce.
He sold them the concept without Sheree’s involvement and then had to go back to her with a make-good once he did.
New drama: The cast of season 8 of Real Housewives of Atlanta revealed. The show kicks off November 8
Dose of reality: A source tells Daily Mail Online that producer Carlos King (left) pitched and sold Whitfield’s (right) concept about real estate agents in Atlanta without her involvement
In addition to offering her a co-executive producer credit, he told her he would arrange for her return to Real Housewives full-time.
He was just trying to do whatever he could to keep her from suing him,’ the source revealed.
WE TV officially announced the pickup of the show, Selling It: In the ATL.
The network is angling the show as a spin-off of their successful existing series Cutting It: In the ATL about Georgia hairstylists.
Whitfield was named as a co-executive producer in the release.
With her track record of not being the most business savvy – Whitfield accepted King’s offer to be co-executive producer and to return to Real Housewives of Atlanta because she never developed any paperwork before pitching him her real estate show concept.
‘With no non-disclosure or partnership agreement in place, she knew she had an uphill battle if she sued Carlos and trusted him again by accepting his offer,’ explained the source.
‘Little did she know, he had duped her yet again.’
Carlos King has not returned Daily Mail Online’s request for comment.
Now, Whitfield has learned she will only be featured in 10 to 12 episodes of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
That’s small when you factor in Bravo ordered 24 episodes this season and has a planned three-part reunion finale.
‘Sheree actually shot her final scenes for the show this past weekend in Washington, DC at the Million Man March with cast members Phaedra Parks, Porsha Williams and Peter Thomas.
It’s the last time viewers will see her on the show and she likely won’t be a part of the reunion, just like Demetria wasn’t,’ said the source.
During her four-year run on Real Housewives of Atlanta, Whitfield was best known for catch-phrases like ‘who’s gonna check me boo?’ and her notorious feuds with Leakes and former cast member Kim Zolciak.
The divorced mother-of-two later introduced Zolciak to her husband, NFL star Kroy Biermann.
Before being let go from the show after season four, Whitfield began construction on a new home she called Chateau Sheree.
Three years later, the property remains unfinished.
Both reality shows premiere the same week. Selling It: In the ATL on November 5 and then The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 8 on November 8.