After kowtowing to pressure to edit Russell Armstrong out of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills before airing the second season, the network has filmed a special that addresses the suicide of castmember Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the special was filmed on Monday, and features interviews with the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -- excluding Taylor Armstrong.
A source reportedly close to one of the Housewives told the Los Angeles Times that the women were not provided any details in advance of how filming of the special -- which was intended to capture their reactions -- should unfold.
Bravo has not yet released the air date for the special, nor has the network reported any plans to change the previously scheduled air date of the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a silence that suggests the original Sept. 5 premiere date will stand.
The special allows Bravo to profit from Armstrong's suicide while ostensibly respecting his family's wishes to cut his storyline from the show.
Armstrong, 47, was found hanging by electrical wire at a friend's Mulholland Drive home on Aug. 15. The second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills had finished filming just prior to his death, and Taylor Armstrong had filed for divorce from Russell in July.
Teasers for the reality show's second season indicated that Taylor and Russell Armstrong's marital difficulties would be a major plotline.
Bravo has faced mounting scrutiny in the wake of Armstrong's suicide, amid claims by surviving family and friends that The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is partially to blame for his suicide.
Russell Armstrong's mother, John Ann Hotchkiss, told HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell that Bravo and the reality series were her son's ultimate undoing.
I began to notice things starting to fray when the television [inaudible] came into being...The program itself just really brought him down, Hotchkiss said in the interview, referring to the on-camera criticism of her son by Taylor's fellow cast members. By the end, he was just so distraught by it.
Hothkiss said Russell told her, 'Mom, they're just going to crucify me this season... I don't know what to do. I'll never survive it.'
William Ratner, a friend of Russell's, told The Los Angeles Times that Armstrong was anxious about playing out the breakup of his marriage on TV.
I...talked with him, and he said, 'I don't know why [Taylor is] doing this. Why can't she do this off the show?' Ratner said. He said there were still two weeks left of shooting and he didn't want to be in it.
He [Armstrong] said the producers at Bravo told Russell and Taylor that they picked them as the 'disaster couple,' and if they weren't going to have drama in the second season, they would cut them and replace them with someone else, Ratner said. 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,' I think, was [Russell's] downfall.
Russell Armstrong's nephew told ABC that he feels The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills should go on as planned -- with an important condition.
I think, in my opinion, Russell should be edited out, in respect to Taylor and the family, Austin Kelsoe said on Good Morning America earlier this month. In my personal opinion, Bravo should take the high road and do what they think is the right thing to do.