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It’s official! After weeks of speculation, ABC has chosen Ben Flajnik to be the next Bachelor!

Bachelor insider Reality Steve broke the news on his blog, even stating Ben had began to film scenes for the new season.

Ben, who was the runner-up on Ashley Hebert‘s season of the Bachelorette, had been longed rumored to be in the running for the Bachelor alongside Ryan Park and Ames Brown. However following the finale episode, fans made it clear they wanted Ben to be the next Bachelor.

According to RS, the 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, Calif., was spotted filming some solo scenes in San Francisco on Aug. 22.

He will reportedly start filming his season (with his contestants) in mid-September with ABC likely to start airing it next January.

And speaking of Ashley, she is still going strong with her fiance J.P. Rosenbaum weeks after her season ended! That has to be equivalent to 3 years in Bachelor franchise years. In fact, Ashley was photographed moving into JP’s NYC apartment just days ago.

“@JP_Rosenbaum is going to kill me when he sees how much clothing I have!! #newyorkaptsneedmoreclosetspace.” tweeted Ashley. JP replied, “@ashhebert all I can say is thank god we r getting a bigger place!” Ashley also tweeted the photo below of the two out and about days ago. Perhaps these two might actually make it. Perhaps.

TELL US – HAPPY BEN IS THE NEW BACHELOR? DO YOU THINK ASHLEY AND JP WILL MAKE IT?

Days after his tragic passing, one of the last interviews Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Russell Armstrong gave has now been released.

In the interview with TheFix.com, we get a better picture of what Russell’s mindset might have been weeks before he took his own life. According to The Fix, a blog about addiction and recovery, Russell, 47, had longtime interest in addiction and recovery, brought on by his father’s alcoholism and his sister’s crystal meth addiction.

Russell, a venture capitalist, told The Fix he and Taylor Armstrong had recently invested in a number of rehabs, and were seeking to build a “rehab empire.” When talking about Bravo, he seemed conflicted — on one hand calling them “bastards” while also stating the “publicity” from the show has been good for his businesses. Excerpts from Russell’s interview below -

Russell On Bravo -

“The Russell you see on T.V. has nothing to do with my real personality. He’s just a stock character created by Bravo’s evil overlords. That’s not me you see up there. It’s just a character I play on TV.”

• Everything you see on that show is bullshit. Those Bravo bastards take every little argument out of context and magnify it for the cameras. They think that tension drives ratings, and of course they’re right.”

• “At first I was a little annoyed about all the bullshit, but then I realized it’s not so bad to be a celebrity. The thing is, all the publicity has been great for my business.”

And over the weekend, Russell’s sister Laurie Kelsoe, a 45-year-old mother of two, broke her silence to defend her brother against mounting accusations of violence and a secret gay past. In the shocking interview, Laurie completely slams Taylor, calling her a “sticky-fingered social climber,” as well as “a liar and a thief.” Excerpts from Laurie’s interview below -

Laurie On Her Sister-in-law Taylor -

• Taylor, an Oklahoma cheerleader whose original name was Shana Hughes, later changed her name to Taylor Ford, and claimed to be a member of the Ford family. “But we had a friend who knew all the Fords and they didn’t know anything about her,” said Laurie. “We knew she was a phony from the beginning, but Russell wouldn’t hear of it.”

• “Taylor is a liar and a thief,” Laurie continued, “Her lifetime ambition was to become a Housewife, and she got what she wanted. You know, she was pregnant when they got married, and I don’t think that was an accident. She wanted a man, she wanted tons of money and she wanted to be in the limelight. She’s just a gold-digger who reinvented herself and dragged my brother down in the process.”

• Laurie claims that Russell had reluctantly agreed to appear on the show to satisfy his wife’s social ambitions. “He spent all his savings to maintain Taylor’s illusion that they were wealthier than they were,” she said, “He did anything to make sure she was happy, but nothing was ever enough.”

• Horrified by the media’s allegations about him, she’s eager to set the record straight. “My brother is not gay. He’s not into S &M. His biggest mistake was falling in love with Taylor, which is a form of masochism I guess.”

• On the $65,000 party that Taylor threw for her five-year old Kennedy: “It was a complete embarrassment to everyone in the family. It was a revolting use of money that could have gone to pay for the college of Russell’s two other children.”

Laurie On Bravo -

• Laurie also alleges that Bravo execs, unhappy with early footage of the new season, told Taylor she would be fired if she didn’t amp up the drama. “Well, they got what they wanted,” said Laurie. “Russell only did this to please his wife. Bravo never told him, ‘We are going to torment you, destroy your marriage, empty your life and rip you apart, now will you please sign on the dotted line?’”

• The Armstrong family is now reportedly planning to sue Bravo for more than $50 million for its alleged culpability in Russell’s death. “I hold Bravo absolutely responsible for Russell’s death,” says Laurie. “When the show first started, he thought these people were his friends, but they ended up stabbing him in the back.”

Laurie went on to deny the rumors that came out last week alleging Russell feared a tell-all book would reveal his secrets. “He is not a homosexual. He’s not a wife beater. He’s not a crook. He was a decent and loving guy,” she said. “All these news stories mention that he went into bankruptcy but they don’t mention that he paid back every dime he ever owed. They’re just slandering my brother.” Laurie also admits that Russell suffered from depression.

And finally, following allegations by Taylor that Russell was physically abusive to her, Entertainment Tonight stated Monday night that it had viewed “graphic” images of Taylor following one of the alleged abuse incidents.

“I’ve seen shocking photos of Taylor with a deeply bruised right eye and a terrible trauma that stretched from here (the mouth) to here (the eye socket),” host Chris Jacobs said. “We are not ready to show them to you just yet, but I can tell you that it looks as though she was hit in the eye with tremendous force.” As of the moment, it is unclear whether or not ET plans to show the images.

Photo credit: WENN

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON RUSSELL’S COMMENTS ABOUT BRAVO AND LAURIE’S COMMENTS ABOUT TAYLOR? SHOULD ET RELEASE TAYLOR’S IMAGES?

It’s deja vu all over again for the Real Housewives of New York City as the Bravo network has decided to bump the show yet again.

After being bumped earlier this year in favor of the lackluster Real Housewives of Miami, Bravo has decided to delay filming on the new season of RHONY and some are now wondering if this could be related to the recent suicide of Russell Armstrong.

“We were originally meant to start filming on Labor Day,” a member of the RHONY cast tells the Huffington Post. “Then we all received an email saying we would start filming September 8th, when Fashion Week started in the city. Now we have all been notified that it has been pushed back another three weeks at least.”

The cast member adds that with the recent tragedy involving Russell, Bravo is now more hesitant to shake-up the cast fearing they might end up casting someone who’s too dark or mentally unable to handle being on a show like the Housewives.

“We expected a huge shake-up in the New York cast,” another star of the show reveals “But now, after what has happened, it might be more beneficial to proceed with the devil you know. The New York cast is certainly whacky but [for] the most part, we are all mentally stable which has to be a bigger priority at the moment than making crazy TV.”

Another source connected to production however assures E! the delay has nothing to do with Russell. “The shoot schedule for RHNYC was pushed due to production details that needed to be finalized and there is absolutely no correlation between RHNYC and RHBH production concerns,” reveals the source.

Meanwhile, whether or not Bravo decides to shake up the cast, it appears new cast member Cindy Barshop is likely done with the series.

A source confirms to the RumorFix blog that Cindy has not been invited back for another season of the Real Housewives of New York. If true, this doesn’t come as a surprise as Cindy didn’t add much to the show, was dull, and just seemed like a deer in headlights in most of her scenes. Let’s face it, she was out of her league with these women, who might or might not hold a PhD in drama!

Now if only Bravo can axe Kelly Bensimon as well. In light of the above comments, hopefully Bravo now realizes that having someone who might be mentally unstable on the show is not worth the risk.

TELL US – DO YOU THINK THE DELAY IS RELATED TO RUSSELL? SURPRISED CINDY MIGHT BE DUNZO?

Two days after officially tying the knot, Kim Kardashian was photographed above yesterday at LAX getting ready to jet off on a secret honeymoon with husband Kris Kardashian Humphries!

But first things first as new reports are now stating the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star’s wedding was more awkward than romantic.

“It was awkward,” a source who attended the lavish wedding which was filmed for E! told UsWeekly. The reason? “There were 100 crew members everywhere,” explains the insider, “and people kept complaining they almost got hit by five camera guys everywhere they went. ” Wowzers!

But there’s more as the insider revealed noise was also a factor for the over 440 guests who were present at the bash. “The helicopters were so loud nobody could hear the ceremony,” the insider revealed, adding that Kim, 30, and Kris, 26, also had to wear microphones for the taping.

And it gets even better as in other to prevent images or footage from leaking out (PEOPLE magazine paid a ton to get the exclusive images) the guests were not only stripped of their cameras but also their cell phones. But don’t feel so badly for the guests as the Kardashian family provided a “hotline number” for the guests who wanted to check in on their kids left behind at a hotel. Ah, the romance!

Don’t feel bad for Kimmie as well as she reportedly raked in over $17 million from her wedding festivities.

Meanwhile, it seems Kimmie, who shares every single aspect of her private life with the public, was actually able to keep something under wraps!

Following reports that she would not be going on a honeymoon with hubby Kris, Kimmie surprised the media and public when she flew out of the country yesterday for her honeymoon! The E! star was photographed above with fiance Kris on Monday afternoon as the two reportedly departed for Italy. They are planning to visit different parts of Europe. Perhaps this wedding wasn’t solely made for TV after all.

And finally, it appears Kimmie will never be able to escape her past, you know, that whole sex tape thingy. First there are reports that her sex tape costar/ex Ray J sent her a text on her wedding day which read: “And to think you really have me to thank for all this.” Kris Jenner was reportedly furious over the text. While Ray J has vaguely denied sending that text, TMZ does confirm the site hosting Kimmie’s sex tape got a record number of hits over the weekend.

Roughly 2 MILLION people visited KimKsuperstar.com between Friday and Sunday night, which is a huge boost for the site which typically averages 300k visitors per month. Congrats in order for Kimmie?

Photos below of Kim with Kris, plus a close up for Kim’s ginormous wedding ring! Photos credit: WENN, SPLASH

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON KIMMIE’S AWKWARD WEDDING & RAY J’S TEXT? WOULD YOU HAVE AN AWKWARD WEDDING FOR $17 MIL?

John Salley was back last night with the second half of the Basketball Wives reunion. There’s more drama than the first half, but it’s just a lot of yelling and cussing about the same old beef. All in all, it was a mediocre end to a mediocre season.

John dives right in, bringing up Meeka’s feelings that the show wasn’t a true representation of who she truly is…and he asks the other ladies if they agree. Meeka is not amused at his attempt to poll the other “wives,” and Evelyn guarantees that Meeka would do another season if asked. Right then and there, Tami vows that if Meeka returns, she won’t. Mmm hmm. Sure.

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO READ THE REST!

Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino is suing mad after In Touch Weekly magazine branded her as being broke and “bankrupt” on the cover of a recent issue (the cover is posted below). She’s not broke?

TMZ reports that inside the mag, the article read, “Bankrupt! Evicted! Foreclosed! Housewives Are Going Broke.” The article continued, “After selling off her home at a fraction of its cost to avoid foreclosure, Alexis Bellino still refuses to admit she and her husband … have money troubles.”

Well Alexis didn’t take too kindly to the cover story as she had her lawyer fire off a nasty cease and desist letter to the mag days ago, demanding In Touch retract its “patent, malicious, and libelous comments.”

The ‘sis and desis’ letter (hi Tamra!) claims Alexis is “in great financial health” and if In Touch doesn’t retract its comments, she plans to sue. TMZ adds that In Touch has yet to respond to the letter.

A bit odd that Alexis would threaten to sue when she did appear to have some financial issues last year. Her home with hubby Jim Bellino was indeed facing foreclosure until the bank decided to cancel the scheduled auction earlier this year.

And while they did not file a personal bankruptcy, Jim did file Chapter 11 bankruptcy for one of his businesses. But apparently all is well and there are no financial troubles. Must say these two are starting to remind me of another Bravo Housewives couple who shall remain nameless, from the way the husband treats his wife right down to the part about threatening to sue media outlets for reporting about their finances.

TELL US – DO YOU THINK ALEXIS IS REALLY BEHIND THIS OR JIM? DOES SHE HAVE A CASE?

Think you could survive another season of competition and deprivation in the wild? CBS hopes so! Survivor: South Pacific is returning for its 23rd season!

The drama begins in Samoa, as the 18 castaways are divided into two teams, the Savaii Tribe and the Upolu Tribe, both named for Samoan islands. The cast will include 16 Survivor novices and two former castaways back for revenge, another chance at famewhoring, and a million dollars.

This isn’t the first time CBS has employed this trick, as Season 21, Redemption Island mixed in two experts with the pack of amateurs castaways. Even though several of the cast members are first timers on Survivor, many have “experience” with reality tv – and you know what that means: they know how to cause D-R-A-M-A!

CBS has released the names of the 16 newbies this week and plans to release the names of the final 2 contestants later in the week. No ideas yet of who it could be! I’m hoping for Richard Hatch, if he’s not back in prison! Also one of the new contestants, 19-year-old Brandon Hance, is actually the nephew of villain Russell Hantz!

Borrowing another twist from Redemption Island, the eliminated castaways aren’t immediately vanquished, but instead go to “Redemption Island” (the place, not the season) where he or she will face off against the next person eliminated by Tribal Council. The loser of the duel will then be sent home, while the winner remains in the game until the next person voted off arrives, where the cycle begins anew until ONE eliminatee, referred to as the Sole Survivor, is left standing. The Sole Survivor will then return to the game to compete for the million dollars. I guess, no one is truly safe in this edition!

The 90 minute season premiere airs Sept. 14 8/9c on CBS. The cast bios and photos for the 16 new contestants are below!

UPDATE - Ben “Coach” Wade and Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth are rumored to be the two returning cast members.

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE THE CAST PHOTOS & BIOS!

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