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Below Deck will be very different when it returns for Season 8. Kate Chastain, who has served as chief stew since Season 2, announced her departure from the series as Season 7 came to a close in February.
Pamela Gimenez, Vice President of Current Production at Bravo, discussed what the longtime chief stew's exit will mean for the future of Below Deck during the March 14 episode of The Daily Dish podcast. "The new season of Below Deck without Kate is just gonna be different," she explained. "It's like if we had to replace someone that's been on for a long time, that's made their mark, it just allows different energy, it allows a different point-of-view, so many things."
Gimenez, who also works on The Real Housewives of New Jersey among other Bravo series, compared Kate's departure to Danielle Staub also recently announcing she "will be never returning as a Housewife again" in January. "It's like they need something new in their life, probably, and they're probably seeking that," Gimenez said. "Change is good."
In fact, Gimenez said that Kate leaving the show just speaks to how much it reflects what really goes on in the yachting industry. "The great thing about Below Deck is that it is a true yachting experience. And that means that we press the reset here and there," she said. "You have new people. These are real yachties, people that work in the industry, and they jump from boat to boat, area to area, region to region, and it really shows the true testament of what Below Deck is."
Even though Kate will surely be missed in the upcoming season of Below Deck, there's plenty for fans to look forward to, according to Gimenez. "So what I'm most excited about the new season of Below Deck, there's going to be a familiar face and a fan favorite," the network executive teased.
Unfortunately, Gimenez didn't provide any further details on who will be climbing aboard the yacht in the new season. But having viewers connect with whoever is in the cast, be it on Below Deck or in a Real Housewives franchise, is really what it's all about for the Bravo executive. "The one thing I always go back to is the personal stories, why we connect with the cast," she said. "Why should I connect with Kate? Like, tell me about them that's gonna pull me in, which is actually fun because then it's new stories."
Kate spills more behind-the-scenes secrets in the Below Deck Season 7 After Show, below.
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