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As The Real Housewives of Atlanta gears up for season 16, some cast shakeups have really changed some stuff around — and Cynthia Bailey has nothing but optimism for the episodes to come.

The RHOA alum was in attendance on Wednesday at the 25th edition of the “An Unforgettable Evening” gala on– a fundraiser gala held at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, which benefited the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, a program of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

While walking the star-studded carpet, Bailey spoke with ET’s Denny Directo, and addressed the departure of Kandi Burruss and the return of Porsha Williams for the show’s forthcoming season.

“Kandi’s been on since, I think, season 2. She is, in my opinion, one of the most inspiring women on the show,” Bailey marveled. “She’s such a boss, she’s always had her hand in so many other pots, and she’s just such a good person.”

Burruss revealed to ET in February that she planned to step back from the show to focus on other projects as well as her family. 

“I think, I’ve always known that once Kandi decided to move on, she was going to be fine,” Bailey continued. “She’s an actress, she’s a singer, I mean she’s all over the place. So I only expect to see even more from Kandi at this point.”

Cynthia Bailey walks the pink carpet at the An Unforgettable Evening charity gala, benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, on April 10, 2024. – Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Additionally, Bailey noted that Burruss still “has a great relationship with the network, and she can go back anytime she wants to.”

While Burruss is departing, Williams has been tapped to make her comeback after leaving the show at the end of season 13 — the same season Bailey first decided to exit the series before coming back as a recurring guest and friend.

When asked if she felt bringing Williams back to the show was a good move on Bravo’s part, Bailey exclaimed, “Of course, of course of course! She’s great TV.”

“I know that she’s going to tell her story, she’s going to have fun with it, and she’s going to give us good TV,” Bailey shared.

Williams posted a video to Instagram back in February to share her excitement for returning to RHOA.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the vision and faith NBCUniversal has put in me to be a larger part of their family,” Porsha says. “I’m looking forward to being back on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and showing the world my new world!”

In August, a source told ET, “Bravo has been trying to get Porsha to come back to RHOA for the possible cast shakeup, but she’s playing hardball.”

The source added, “Porsha is telling friends she wants to be the highest-paid Housewife on any franchise. Porsha could return, but as of now, she and Bravo have not come to an agreement.”

At the time, Bravo offered Porsha a lot of money to return, but she declined. 

In July, Porsha spoke with ET about possibly returning to the Bravo hit show and said the door isn’t closed. 

“I mean, listen, it’s so [good] to be missed. It would be bad if it’s brought up and you’re like, ‘No, she can stay where she is,'” Porsha joked. “I love that people want to see me. I love that people are still interested in my life and who I am.”

“I’ve never written it off, I’ve never talked down on the show. I love what the girls are doing. I love that the brand is still as strong as it was before,” she added, “and you just never know. I will say [that] I’ll never say ‘never.'”

It’s unclear when the 16th season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta will begin filming and which cast members are fully confirmed to be returning, other than Williams. 

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