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Carole Radziwill to add ‘class’ to ‘Real Housewives of New York’

Carole Radziwell (above) is joining “The Real Housewives New York.

Carole Radziwell (above) is joining “The Real Housewives of New York.

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Updated: November 10, 2011 3:36PM

Though big changes at “The Real Housewives of New York” have been rumored for some time, the axing of original cast members Jill Zarin and Alex McCord, plus Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop, reportedly really upset Zarin and McCord in particular.

While fabric queen Zarin is putting a good face on it publicly — and does have a few new projects pending — she’s still “pissed off about it all,” said a pal, who adds McCord is “even more upset.”

Replacement “housewives” will include someone a Bravo source says “will add quite a bit of much-needed real class to the show”: author and ex-ABC producer Carole Radziwill, the daughter-in-law of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ sister, Lee Radziwill.

Carole’s late husband, Anthony Radziwill — thought to be John F. Kennedy Jr.’s favorite cousin — died of cancer only a month after JFK Jr.’s death in the plane crash that also claimed his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy — one of Carole Radziwill’s best friends.

† Also joining the Bravo “Housewives” franchise are fashion designer Heather Thomson and Manhattan philanthropist Aviva Drescher.

AUCTION ACTION: Delores Hope never cared much for her husband’s extensive collection of World War II memorabilia — especially all the Nazi stuff. But now that she has joined Bob Hope at that big USO show in the sky, Delores’ heirs plan to sell it to raise funds for charity.

Among the items stored in a huge Palm Springs, Calif., vault are many German helmets, uniforms, medals and the like — plus personal possessions reportedly taken from Adolf Hitler’s Berlin bunker, including a crystal wine decanter and an assortment of Der Fuehrer’s stationery.

Hope, a shrewd businessman who made a fortune in Southern California real estate, knew the Nazi collection one day would be worth big bucks. He used his close ties to top U.S. military brass to acquire the collection immediately after the war ended.

Among those who have shown interest in buying the memorabilia in the past is Sandra Bullock’s ex, Jesse James.

BEING CAREFUL: As a special precaution, “Dancing With the Stars” honchos have approved additional security for Chaz Bono — as they did for Bristol Palin when the daughter of ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin received similar threats during her time competing on the hit show.

† As has been true virtually every season, romance rumors have surfaced about a new contestant and her pro partner. Jay Cutler’s ex-fiancee, Kristin Cavallari, and Mark Ballas deny any hanky-panky, with the former star of “The Hills” telling “Extra” that learning to dance is “a lot of work. So romance is the last thing on our minds.”

NEW CHAPTER: Now we know the identity of the beautiful, mysterious blonde who has been spotted at Rosie O’Donnell’s side on several occasions, including the TV talker’s house hunting here. The new gal pal is Michelle Rounds, a top headhunter who specializes in information technology companies.

The duo met a few months ago at a New York Starbucks.

ON THE AGENDA: One of Hollywood’s biggest players — Chuck Viane, Walt Disney Studios president of global distribution and a DePaul grad — will talk about his side of showbiz in a free lecture at 2 p.m. Friday at the university’s CDM Theater, Daley Building, 14 E. Jackson.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Before he headed to China and some more exotic dining choices, Gov. Pat Quinn slipped into the new M Burger at the Thompson Center for a single burger and some peach iced tea. . . . New Lyric head honcho Anthony Freud was spied dining at Coco Pazzo the other night with the Lyric’s maestro emeritus Bruno Bartoletti — when who should arrive separately but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s maestro Riccardo Muti. A classical confab indeed! . . . A bunch of “Playboy Club” stars — including Jenna Dewan, Amber Heard, Wes Ramsey, Naturi Naughton, Laura Benanti, Troy Garity, Jenifer Lewis and Ashley Lobo — gathered Monday at Studio Paris to watch the debut of their Chicago-made new series on NBC.

Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker reports regularly on “Good Day Chicago” and “Fox Chicago News at 9” on WFLDChannel 32.

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