Bravo broke its silence Friday to announce The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be re-edited prior to the second season premiere, presumably to remove footage of the late Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of Taylor Armstrong.
There is still no word on whether the premiere, originally scheduled for Sept. 5, will be postponed.
Contrary to what is being reported, we have not made a decision to change our original premiere date but we are in the process of re-editing the show, Bravo president Frances Berwick told Variety.
Russell Armstrong, 47, was found dead Monday night at a friend's Mulholland Drive home. His body was hanging from a beam by an electrical wire. The coroner ruled his death as a suicide by hanging.
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 Monday.
IBTimes has not been able to verify a Radaronline.com report that Armstrong's mother, John Ann Hotchkiss, threatened Bravo with a lawsuit if the network were to air one frame of her son.
Radaroline.com reports that Hotchkiss made the remarks during an interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell. While Hotchkiss did give an interview to Headline News on CNN Wednesday, IBTimes has not been able to locate any CNN record of her making the threats she is quoted as making on Radaronline.com.
Still, Hotchkiss did blame her son's involvement in reality TV for his untimately death, and told HLN that that her son and Taylor's marriage had been happy prior to joining the Bravo series.
I don't wish to bash my daugher-in-law...I truly believe when they were married and for years thereafter their union was happy. It seemed blissful, Hotchkiss said.
I began to notice things starting to fray when the television [inaudible] came into being...The program itself just really brought him down, Hotchkiss continued, 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.'
Andy Cohen, a senior Bravo executive and host of the The Real Housewives reunion shows and Watch What Happens Live, addressed Russell Armstrong's death in a Twitter post on Tuesday, and again in a blog post Thursday:
We're all still trying to process yesterday's very sad news, and looking at how to proceed with the series, which has finished primary production and was set to premiere on Labor Day, Cohen wrote on Bravotv.com. We'll let you know what we decide when we do. In the meantime, we're sending our thoughts and prayers to Taylor and the rest of Russell's family.
Cohen has not issued any further statements since Thursday.
Teasers for the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -- released before Russell's suicide -- indicate that Russell and Taylor Armstrong's marital difficulties were a planned storyline. 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 Thursday morning. In my personal opinion, Bravo should take the high road and do what they think is the right thing to do.
Taylor Armstrong was spotted on Friday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, Calif. where she reportedly spent two hours inside a chapel.
According to an Us Weekly report, Taylor Armstrong was noticed by paparazzi despite her attempts to conceal her identity under a black hooded shawl, dark sunglasses and a fur blanket.