Insiders tell Now that some of the cast have grown too big for their boots and will be replaced by new faces unless they tone down their demands.
TV executives issued the threat ahead of the new series - despite the cast not being paid a penny for their involvement.
With thousands of Essex wannabes polishing their stilettos and stocking up on hair gel and Lynx in the hopes of replacing them, insiders say Amy Childs, 20, Jessica Wright, 25, and brother Mark, 23, and Lauren Goodger, 23, are contemplating their next move.
Kirk Norcross, 22, has already quit the show after being dropped from the Christmas special.
‘Kirk being cut and walking away for good was a real shock. No one saw it coming,' reveals a source from behind the scenes.
‘The cast all knew they wouldn't be paid apart from expenses when they signed up for the show.
'But I don't think any of them expected it to be such a runaway success and they're all starting to resent everyone else making money from it when they're the ones who've made it so successful.'
The cast have been cashing in on their new-found fame with magazine deals and personal appearances and Amy's rumoured to be the highest earner so far.
‘The thing is, they spend so much time filming, they have to cram their earning time around the show,' reveals our show mole.
‘They don't think it's fair that the show's producers are making money when they're performing for free.
‘They know they need the show and they all love doing it, so I don't think anyone else will quit right now but they're all on the lookout for new opportunities. 'If any of them lands the right new TV gig, they'll walk away for good.'
Kirk's New TV Deal?
Quitting the series when he was axed from the Xmas show, Kirk took a swipe at rival Mark, Tweeting: ‘TOWIE dropped me cuz I don't have 3 gf and ain't a dick! Let's see if I can get my own show, The Real Essex.'
Now it appears that Kirk's struck gold.
Offers have been flooding in, including a TV show with his girlfriend, international DJ Lauren Pope.
A source reveals: ‘The plan is to make them the new celeb couple, like Katie and Peter before the split, say.'