Cabler's prexy says no decision yet on delay of Sept. 5 premiere

Bravo has begun re-editing “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” according to the network’s president, who also indicated the series may stick to its Sept. 5 premiere date.

The network broke its silence Friday via the channel’s president, Frances Berwick, who told Variety, “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.”

Since the Aug. 15 suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband to one of the series’ stars, Bravo has stayed quiet beyond a formal statement of condolence amid a frenzy of speculation as to what the net planned to do, if anything. Some critics suggested Bravo should simply shelve the entire season, but the decision to re-edit means the show will continue.

With re-editing already underway, the network could still make a Sept. 5 deadline though a postponement hasn’t been ruled out either. Given Bravo has already marketed that date as the second-season premiere, there’s considerable incentive to be ready by then given the level of attention the controversy has brought to the series.

Berwick declined to specify exactly how “Housewives” is going to change, though it is likely the series will reshape or eliminate the presence of Armstrong over the course of the season. Sources indicate he was filmed for the purposes of appearing this season, which was to make his marital strife with series star Taylor Armstrong a prominent storyline.

It is also possible that the storyline could be marginalized or eliminated from the series, though that could prove a more delicate task considering she was to command a lot more screentime. In the season premiere provided to media weeks before the suicide, Taylor Armstrong alludes to problems she is having with her husband, as well as the possibility of getting couples counseling.

Editing will also likely have to address the disruption to production Armstrong prompted by threatening both his wife’s co-stars and the series’ production company, Evolution Film & Tape, with legal action should mention of his marital problems made air, which Variety confirmed through his lawyer, Ronald Richards. Armstrong later retracted his threat to Evolution.

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