Did Bravo handle Russell Armstrong’s suicide the right way?
September 6th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Did Bravo handle Russell Armstrong’s suicide the right way?

Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” finally addressed Russell Armstrong's suicide on its season premiere Monday night.

The show’s producers scrambled to edit the premiere after Armstrong, the husband of cast member Taylor Armstrong, died in August. They wanted to find a tasteful way to address the tragedy while driving home the point that the show must go on.

At the beginning of the season premiere episode, the show takes on a group therapy vibe, with the "Housewives" sitting around in a parlor speaking candidly about the unexpected loss of Taylor’s husband.

Taylor’s castmastes expressed guilt and grief and concern for Taylor, who understandably was not involved in that part of the taping.

Bravo also snipped parts of the original show that it deemed too sensitive considering the circumstances. Some people really feel the season premiere of the show struck a chord of being respectful of Taylor Armstrong’s loss while also being entertaining. Others think the added conversation about Russell Armstrong’s suicide felt artificial and forced.

I think it’s really a no-win situation for the show because even what the producers added to the premiere could be perceived as exploitative. I think in the end, how they handled it is right for some people and wrong for others and if Bravo executives weren’t going to cancel the season, this was the best balance to strike.

What do you think? It’s our "Showbiz Tonight" Flashpoint: Did “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” handle the suicide the right way? Post your thoughts below and be sure to tune into "Showbiz Tonight," exclusively at 11 p.m. ET/PT on HLN tonight for our big debate on this.

Watch Showbiz Tonight Weekdays Exclusively at 11PM ET on HLN.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. j

    Zoglet says: January 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    After the disgrace of Armstrong admitting he took drugs and cheated, should all astronauts now have to face regular drug tests? Also, are astronauts good at cycling because of the zero-G?


    January 25, 2013 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. pikygrl

    If I was betrayed by my life partner on reality tv and made to look like a selfish freak when I was only trying to please the one person in my life so hell bent making my personal life a joke I don't know what I would do. It cuts so deep when betrayed by the one person who is supose to love and support you.

    October 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maria

    NOT ..the show should be cancelled,it brought suicide it is bloody money! this classless, shallow,wannabees ,empty minds lazy ,mean and rich women didn't deserve being in this kind of show ,Bravo and the show brought this guy to kill himself they say they don't notice I am a watcher and I notice the sadness in this guy's face I saw the depression on his face the show make it more hard for him to survive it was too much pressure from this witches specially Liza she was on his face he told hid mother how mean she was at him..Liza I hope you and your dumb husband and your ugly dog comeback to London were you belongs you came here became multimillionaire and try to became famous go home devil woman! I hope all of you get someday the punishement you all deserve !drinking a bottle of champaing that cost almost $3.000.00 is SINFUL while is people here starving and without jobs it is outrageous!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joy

    This is a reality tv show and this is also a sad part of reality so what better place than on a reality show does this belong? The problem remains for the family and child of Russell but that is the price paid by the characters who submit to being on a show like this and the money they collect as well. It is all about free will however it certainly adds a new range of interpretation for therapists to ponder for treatment for possible suisides and other emotions it brings to the survivors.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tnt

    this is a tragedy caused by reality tv and these money hungry attention craving hussies who MUST be in the spotlight and dont care at who's expense i.e. her husband and father of their children. the show must go on, what!! gimme a freakin break. when a cast member of whatever show it is takes their own life, you should probably halt the production and take a minute to look a what drove them to do this. i wish all reality shows would just go away forever

    September 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. duh

    I would probably kill myself too if I married one of those harpies

    September 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. *I Want 2 Tease U With Wonton Soup*

    I didn't know the show was back on as yet. From the last season, he seem more a loner and didn't want to be much in the spotlight. I don't recall him treating her bad. He got a dog for the kid and she kinda freaked about it and....spending all that money on a kid's party, wow! (that was her doing). She comes off more the one that wanted to let her hair down and go wild. Did she not say that she chased him anyway? It's sad that he checked out the way he did, and, I feel bad for his family for their lost. Nobody would know for sure what was going on inside his head.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Davidjo

    Cathy Hiilton sister seemed genuinely upset, saying that this season show, had other stories lines going on beside Russell and Taylor's problems. Maybe she didn't mean for it to come off as it did.

    Bravo, sure is slow to figure it out, at least Cathy Hilton sister figured it out. Nobody going to watch. Once you have lost someone to suicide, no thanks it's too painful i woulld rather go to the dentist than subject myself to this so called entertainment.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Reggie

    @Maria : a shove or a slap or emotional & verbal abuse is abuse. You comment about "no bruises". I do not think you get it at all. He was a depressed man who had demons long before in his lifetime - this is sad. I feel for her & the children involved. Some people fake it till they make it - he could not take life & reality & checked out.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. jb2817

    They're all dead behind the eyes b!tches

    September 7, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. ihaterealityshows

    Suicide is NO joke, but “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is definitely a joke! Get a real job ladies.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Julie

    To raise awareness and prevention of suicide please donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


    September 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Starfire

    I think the b!tch handed him the rope & watched as he did it. That's my thought on this. I watch a lot of those CIS shows on tv & i know thats what happened

    September 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mrs JP

    Bravo handled Russell Armstrong's death fine. So get over it you negative people!

    Anytime anyone goes onto a Reality show, you get informed before you go on tv! Do you're research people!

    And another thing Suicide is no joke!

    September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Al

    I love BRAVO, but all these Housewives shows are STUPID

    September 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • EnoffofDstpdtee

      Absolutely AGREE w/ u 100%. Taylor is so full of herself and it's obvious how much she wants to measure up with this Hollywood lifestyle.
      She's the only one, of all the RHBH cast that was NOBODY b4 the show and to make her relevant to the show, Bravo has to capitalized on her dysfunctional marriage, w/c makes Bravo an opportunist and an equal liable stressor that cause his untimely death.
      Either way, there's nothing good about Reality TV exploiting and the people signing for it!

      September 8, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  16. Maria

    I don't understand ,Russel was beating the hell of Taylor...where is the bruises?I it have to be noticeable by her housewives friends during the show/and if this is true why they didn't call the police? a bunch of lies form everyone ,they brought this guy to suicide and now they blame him! I hope the show is a flat and they get out of business Bravo ,the show and this low class rich shallow women!

    September 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Bravo

    If any ot you have watched any of the previous eposodes you would know that this man had some serious mential issues...he wouldn't engage with his wife or any one else.

    September 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Kim Spokane

    Suicide isn't anything to joke about or take lightly. The fact that not even Taylor was aware just how depressed Russell was is how scary depression is. We need to be thankful for every minute with our loved ones as we never know when they will no longer be with us, weather it be an accident or other means that take them from us. Bravo has no way to win this challenge they are up against. Life does go on, and it appears they have a great support system in one another.

    September 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mandie Grace Taylor

    If you want to see what the people who found Russell really went through – just go and download Girl Interrupted.

    The girls in the mental hospital will be representative of the women in Beverly Hills state of mind – and the ending will resonate with RHBV viewers.

    September 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Melissa

    I think it was tastefully done. Bravo can't just NOT mention it – that would have been insensitive. It had to have been brought up, somehow, and I think this was the best way to handle it. At the end of the day, the network is not responsible for the man's mental illness and for his ultimate suicide. I think Bravo went beyond by airing PSAs about suicide prevention, and by going through the time and effort to re-edit the whole season. Props to Bravo...

    September 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I thought it was all fake...these women do not know how cruel they can be...and they felt no guilt...not handled will, no apology to how they acted towards him, or to try to help him out...what FAKES...just like his wife...money hungry women, not an example I would want to have for my granddaughters. Stopped watching after the interview..no sincerity at all...

      September 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |

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