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Bravo going ahead with premiere of ‘Housewives’
NEW YORK (AP) - The Bravo network said Wednesday it is going ahead with the Labor Day season premiere of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” despite the suicide of a cast member’s husband.
Brief interviews with cast members about the suicide of Russell Armstrong will precede the premiere, although Armstrong’s widow, Taylor _ one of the “Real Housewives” _ did not participate. The network will also air several suicide prevention public service announcements during the show, said Frances Berwick, Bravo Media president.
Armstrong hanged himself on Aug. 15. He left no note. The couple’s marital strife was a story line in the reality show’s first season. In the second season premiere, filmed months ago, Taylor Armstrong tells the other housewives that she and her husband are going to therapy.
Berwick said the season’s new episodes are in the process of being edited. She didn’t specify exactly what was being done, but it will likely be to give less attention to the marital problems.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the Armstrong family during this difficult time,” Berwick said in a statement.
“The Real Housewives” franchise is one of the key factors in Bravo’s success as a cable network. Begun in 2006 with a short-run series focusing on the lives of a group of women in Orange County, Calif., the series branched out to separate editions with women in New York, New Jersey and Atlanta.
Last year Bravo aired “The Real Housewives of DC,” which featured Michaele Salahi, who briefly became famous as an uninvited guest at a White House party. Unlike the other five cities, the Washington edition is not returning.
Berwick wasn’t immediately available to talk about the network’s thoughts behind sticking with the series. Networks have taken different approaches when cast members made unpleasant headlines: VH1 cancelled two series that Ryan Jenkins was involved in after he was charged with murdering his ex-wife and then committed suicide. The series “Celebrity Rehab” has continued after two of its cast members died after their editions aired.
Bravo also said it is working with the Entertainment Industries Council to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
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