Bravo to re-edit 'Housewives of Beverly Hills' due to Russell Armstrong's suicide


Image Credit: Bravo

Bravo has figured out how it’s going to handle The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in the wake of Russell Armstrong’s suicide. The network has decided to air the upcoming second season despite critics calling for the show to be canceled — but will re-edit the content.

EW has confirmed that producers are in the process of re-shaping season 2. The network is also making an effort to meet the show’s original Sept. 5 premiere date. “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 said to Variety.

Russell Armstrong told his mother before his death that he expected to be “crucified this season” on the show. And indeed, it seems his battles with the show’s star, Taylor Armstrong, were expected to be a prominent storyline.

The trade noted that it’s not clear what exactly will be edited from the show, but it’s a safe bet that the Armstrongs’ marital problems will either be reduced or eliminated. The editing might also have to somehow address Russell threatening the show with a lawsuit, a move that disrupted production.

Bravo’s editing decision could be controversial if the Armstrongs’ martial issues are indeed glossed over. Though viewers are cynical about how real a reality show is, when an event as permanent and dramatic as a suicide occurs among a cast being followed by cameras for a documentary-style series, re-shaping the narrative could feel, well, wrong — turning a blind eye to reality when it counted the most.

Many viewers, however, will likely feel the move is respectful, however. Showing martial conflict in the context of a breezy reality show in the wake of painful tragedy could be considered exploitative.

Either way, Armstrong sought to improve his portrayal on a TV show by threatening legal action. It seems the tragedy of ending his life may ultimately have that very effect.

Read more:

Russell Armstrong to mother before suicide: ‘They’re just going to crucify me this season’

Bravo pondering postponement of ‘Real Housewives’

Russell Armstrong commits suicide

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Comments (71 total) Add your comment
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  • Laurie

    They should just cancel this show. It was great the first season, but now? I’m over it.

    • Ap

      Agree with you. What are they going to do – edit Taylor’s parts out completely? I think they should consider doing something like VH1 did with I Love Money and that guy killed his wife and then himself. They should film a “new” Season 2(3) and release the postponed/canceled season on DVD/iTunes before the “new” Season 2(3) airs.

      No matter what, people will watch

      • Yellowstone

        No, they already shot season 3 of I love money when the guy killed his gf

      • Linda

        Real human tension, distance, distrust, misery, and suicide. Reality TV, it’s so real it’s scary. And later on tonight we have the usual bread and circus too!

    • kate middleton

      I wish they would remove Taylor entirely. She is the worst.

      Will be interesting to see how Bravo handles it. They need to be respectful, but it would feel a bit disingeuous if they don’t talk about it at all…

      • Yay!

        I really felt after last season that Russell got a raw deal on the show. They made him out to be a loser. Even his wife didn’t support him. He didn’t seem like a bad guy to me – just not interested in being famous and hanging out with those people. Perhaps he was uncomfortable in the spotlight. I was shocked and saddened when I heard about his suicide. This show, and safely his wife, drove him to the depths of despair.

      • Yay!

        “sadly” his wife

      • You’re Not Kate Middleton

        Just a sad, sorry stalker.

      • Linda

        The real reason they have to cut the clips because it admits liability during the making of show. They knew the whole time they were making this series that the poor man was slipped ever deeper and deeper into full blow psychosis. The man probably showed considerable stages of psychosis near the end before he took his life too. That’s why they have to edit it out. It’s not to be nice to his family or whatever. They would show anything as long as it made money.

      • Dgently

        @Linda…absolutely. Because all the camera guys are trained psychaitrists.

      • okcity girl

        I am fixin’ to go all Oklahoma on you!!!!

    • Me

      This show was anything but great – they women were all catty and obnoxios and by all appearances, still are.

  • goat

    I don’t understand…I mean, it’s really unfortunate that he felt that there was absolutely nothing he could do besides commit suicide, but re-editing the show isn’t going to change what really happened, especially after all the media coverage surrounding the story. And in a less sympathetic note, let’s not forget that he did this to himself, it’s not like he was murdered. Plus, wouldn’t showing what really happened be a…i don’t know…learning experience? Like what if you know someone similar who was going through or being treated the same way he did? Maybe then people can look out for these people and try to help them with whatever problems they have…

    • ST

      I think it’s more in the fact that he won’t be able to defend himself now and being senstive to the rest of his family.

      • bsure

        Well said, ST.

    • Wow

      You are an insensitive ‘goat’. ‘it’s not like he was murdered’ really? I hope you never have a horrible tragedy strike you or a family member. He had children. People don’t just hang themselves. There was a lot more to it than being on a reality show.

      And hey people, if you don’t like the show, instead of calling for it’s cancellation – how about don’t watch it so the rest of us can. Thanks.

    • Original

      If Bravo edits it is because it is self serving. There is a big difference between the truth and accusation. Is it possible that Bravo doesn’t have faith in Taylor’s side of the story?

  • qeratify

    They are going to edit out any of the women speaking negatively about Russel. They will probably leave in most of the Taylor vs Russel conflict. They just don’t want to show anyone mocking Russel.

    • marin

      I think that’s appropriate.

      Also, in the article – I think you mean MARITAL and not MARTIAL in this paragraph: “Many viewers, however, will likely feel the move is respectful, however. Showing martial conflict in the context of a breezy reality show in the wake of painful tragedy is exploitative.”

      • Robster

        And this one -> ‘if the Armstrongs’ martial issues are indeed glossed over’.

      • SirLizard

        Twice, they used “martial”, and they still haven’t corrected it, even though many readers have pointed it out. Pathetic.

    • kate middleton

      I think your idea would be the best way to handle it. If they edit it out completely, it just would seem weird given everything that’s happened and how it was a focus last season as well. (Plus it would probably give Taylor no storyline). But they have to be sensitive to it – so I think they’ll try to take out the other housewives (or Taylor even) being too critical of Russell.

  • bsure

    I don’t understand why anyone who would be going through such serious family issues agree to be filmed for a reality show. Too much potential for trouble & anguish.

    • googie

      …and why people would want to watch it! This whole thing is creepy.

      • Linda

        It’s probably transmittable whatever psychosis that man had.

  • Brit

    I personally feel he is a coward given the latest details that he beat Taylor. Yeah, I bet he WAS worried that he would be portrayed lousy, and since he couldn’t handle that, he took his life. At first I felt bad for him that his “edit” would be unfair, but now it seems it was somewhat deserved. Sad all the way around.

    • Marsha

      alledged beating

      • Brit

        True, but supposedly there are pictures, and I can’t imagine word would leak about a threatening email to Camille w/o knowing proof might be requested. I’m sorry that he took such drastic measures, but he was creepy and I do believe the allegations.

    • cyn

      How do you prove you didn’t do something? Let’s face it you can say anything. If it is on the internet it must be true. What if it wasn’t and it destroyed your family and your livelihood.What if the only way out was to remove yourself from the picve. ure to protect those you love. Suicide isn’t a cowardly act but a desperate one when the world becomes so dark you can’t see the light!

  • Colleen

    @ Goat.. despite the sad circumstances surrounding his passing.. I think that the larger picture here is that there is a child and family who is hurting because someone they love is gone. It only seems respectful for his daughter and his family that they treat this with some sensitivity . My heart aches for what they must be going through right now.

    I also agree with you that the show could really do some good by using this as a platform to help others. Perhaps when they are up to it.. Maybe a family member could do a PSA for a crisis hotline/center that helps people who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.

  • Lia

    I still think they should cancel it. The man felt so trapped by a reality show that he killed himself. And they still want to air it? Even edited, that’s beyond tacky.

    • ger

      In other words, it’s so Bravo.

    • Marsha

      ITA, doesn’t show Bravo in a good light at all.

    • Me

      On one hand I agree, the show should be cancelled, just because it’s awful. On the other hand, he wasn’t forced to be a part of it.

  • bippy

    They should just leave it in. It’s not like people don’t know what eventually happens.

  • Jacey Pacey

    I think they should just edit him out but leave it as much a possible the way it played out. What is more REAL than this. Bottom line, this man was a creep who beat his wife and then copped out and killed himself.

    Bravo shouldnt have to cancel their show because of Russell’s failure at business, marriage, parenthood and being a man.

    • Brit

      I kinda agree.

    • TorontoTom

      And you really want to watch this?!? Really? Maybe his young daughter can get DVDs of the show when she’s older and “enjoy” what you are confusing as entertainment. Watching other people’s train wreck lives for enjoyment is disgusting. Just because the tube is bloated with this garbage does not make it acceptable. Give your head a shake, JP.

      • Marsha

        Hell no.

      • Frons

        I’m with you, Toronto Tom. I can’t understand the pleasure people derive from these shows, especially one in which resulted in someone’s life falling apart and eventual suicide. How is that entertainment? Even masking it is wrong and beyond disrepectful to the family.

      • George

        @Frons – I don’t think it’s pleasure people derive from watching these shows, it’s the fact that you have these glamorous, well-off people who you would think have better lives than us, and their problems are just like ours, and a lot of times worse. I think we just don’t want to be alone in our own misery.

    • cyn

      I hate that you take Taylor at her word. After what we have seen she doesn’t have much creditability. Ask Adrienne The price apparently comes high but not to high for Bravo

  • TorontoTom

    CANCEL IT. The reality tv craze has reached its peak and now the gutter is waiting for Kate Gosselin, the Kardashian litter, the Jersey Shore mutants, the Unreal Housewives etc etc etc.

    • Jen E.

      Amen. Can we get back to quality television, please? The reality show sycophants will be just as happy staring at walls and drooling on themselves.

      • Vegasboy87

        Lol. So do you watch reality shows?

  • FrenemyWatcher

    They’re called FameWh*res for a reason. And who says we are any better than the Romans? They had their Gladiators, we have our Reality TV Stars. “ARE WE NOT ENTERTAINED!?”

  • Kenny

    Well TorontoTom Kate Gosselin’s show was cancelled this week!

  • Vegasboy87

    I really feel bad about Mr. Armstrong killing himself earlier this week…but I dont think they should cancel the show! That is stupid. He isn’t one of the real housewives of beverly hills, he is just the husband. Bravo is doing the right thing, because they could have just said oh well, on with the show….correct? Reality television is here to stay, and if you want quality tv shows, please watch the new scripted shows coming out this fall…

    • Redcatlady

      Only the “wives” are under contract, or so I’ve heard — not the spouses, not the kids, and certainly not the in-laws. Or the spouses from first marriages, either; apparently, Taylor may have been trying to airbrush out the fact that she was #2 and that he had two sons from his first marriage who live in Phoenix (that was why he left the Vegas jaunt, according to CNN — his son had a baseball tournament that same time, and he didn’t want to miss it; pretty obvious, from the reaction from Vanderpump, that Taylor never shared that info with the other women).

  • megan

    This whole thing is so sad. I’m out – can’t watch RH anymore.

    • WifeBeatnPusCeater

      You won’t be missed.

  • WifeBeatnPusCeater

    I am looking to work over both sets of Taylor’s lips now that Russell done gone and got himself croaked. BTW, why can’t Kate Gosselin do the same thing?

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