The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills castmembers and a producer sat down with Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today Monday morning to discuss the show's second season which premieres less than a month after the suicide of Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of Taylor Armstrong, one of the show's stars.
Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump and executive producer Douglas Ross were steadfast that Bravo has made the right decisions in the wake of Armstrong's suicide. Bravo announced last week that the network had decided to air the reality show on schedule after re-editing portions of the season's episodes.
Russell Armstrong hung himself in a friend's Hollywood area home on Aug. 15, shortly after completing filming the second season and a month after Taylor filed for divorce. The Armstrong's failing marriage was expected to be one of the primary storylines of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills until the tragedy forced executives to recalculate the show's direction.
When we heard about the tragedy, of course our hearts went out to Taylor and all of our thoughts to support her, Ross said in response to Guthrie's question about whether or not to cancel the season altogether. Be we along with the network took a hard look at the show and looked at it very thoroughly. And we decided to make some adjustments where appropriate in light of the circumstances. Our goal has always been to make an honest and accurate story about the ladies and what goes on in their life, and we wanted to be how we always are - respectful and responsible.
Maloof said that calling off the show altogether would be sweeping suicide under the rug, and that's what we didn't want to do. We wanted to bring it to forefront.
In the first few episodes that we've completed editing, Russell is not included in those episodes, Ross said, before adding: But it is important to note that Taylor's story is told throughout the season. Taylor's marriage was a major component of her story in the first season.
All three of the 'Housewives' interviewed insisted that no castmembers feel pressured to create drama in order to satisfy producers' expectations.
We lead and they follow, said Lisa Vanderpump. We create and they document.
The season premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be preceded by a special segment featuring cast interviews devoted to discussing the suicide, beginning at 9 p.m. EST Monday. Taylor Armstrong was not one of the castmembers interviewed, but she is expected to appear on the regular episode.