Gold Diggers of 2009

On Capitol Hill and in the news, the frivolous rich may be out of fashion. But on Bravo, they're a hit

Illustration by Francisco Caceres

If there is a new austerity in America, no one appears to have told Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. In Episode 2 of Season 2 of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City, she gathers family and friends at a parlor in the Hamptons for a champagne birthday party. For her dog.

The tagline De Lesseps speaks in the opening credits of RHNYC is, appropriately, "I never feel guilty about being privileged." That could be the motto of Bravo, a cable powerhouse whose reality shows follow the pampered class and their various stylists, party planners and other modern-day valets.

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