Reports surfaced Thursday that (from left to right, above) Cindy Barshop, Kelly Bensimon and Jill Zarin, along with Alex McCord (below) -- four of the seven members of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York cast -- were being fired from the show.

AlexMcCord230.jpgNow, the network has officially confirmed the rumors.

Zarin and McCord were original cast members. Bensimon joined in season two, Barshop in season four (the most recent season).

The network's statement:

    "Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps will be returning for season 5 of The Real Housewives of New York City. We've had a fabulous run with all the ladies and appreciate them sharing their lives with our viewers. It is a friendly departure among the other ladies and we continue to have on-going discussions with them."

McCord (right) started a Facebook campaign last week to keep herself on the show -- clearly, it didn't work. She Tweeted on Saturday, " ... a decision has been reached. @SimonvanKempen & I are leaving #RHONY, sadly but amicably."

Said Zarin: "When one door closes..another one opens."

According to our poll, 23 percent of our readers said they would not watch the show without the departing cast members, while 36 percent said Bravo made the right decision because the show needs some fresh faces.