This afternoon, Andy Cohen appeared in a panel for television critics to talk about the expansion of his Bravo show “Watch What Happens Live” into a five-night-per-week show, starting Sunday night. During the panel, the inevitable question about the current season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” came up, as Cohen was asked how he reacted to reports that Russell Armstrong, who committed suicide after the season was filmed, was concerned that the show was going to adversely affect his life.
Cohen responded that “We had many discussions as you can imagine for along time as to how to do this. What emerged was the story of a woman (Taylor Armstrong) trying to extricate herself from a marriage where she was unhappy, where domestic violence played a part. and that’s the story that emerged from this season.”
He went on to say that Russell “was given the option to come back or not come back (after the first season) and he chose to come back. he spoke to producers about how much the show helped his business.”
When Taylor Armstrong appeared on “WWHL” recently to talk about her life since her estranged husband’s suicide, Cohen told the critics that he still wanted to keep the fun vibe of the show while knowing he had to open the interview with a more serious tone. “Taylor also wante dto have fun on the show. It wasn’t necessarily time to have fun. (So we) spent 10 minutes talking seriously, took a break, and went into fun.”
The Bravo exec mentioned that he had just finished taping the “RHOBH” reunion show, and he and the housewives “talked a lot about every serious thing you could imagine, and that’s a better forum for that (than “WWHL”).”
In planning how to broadcast the second season of the show after Russell’s suicide, Cohen told reporters after the panel that he and the producers of the show tried to “discern how to tell (Taylor’s story) in the most real way possible.”
The episodes that featured Russell generated media stories on the series that expressed disgust at what was going on, but Cohen’s reaction to those fans and writers is that “it was a very difficult, uncomfortable situation (to watch), and it was an uncomfortable, difficult situation when it happened in real life. This is a show about what happened to six women during a period of time, and that’s what the show is.”
He did go on to say that Taylor looked a lot healthier when he interviewed her on “WWHL,” so hopefully she’s in a place now where she can move on and be well.
Watch the latest episode of “RHOBH”: