Oh, so sad it’s officially the last day ofFlipping Out, but do not despair because Jeff and the gang will be back sooner than later with a new Bravo reality show called “Interior Therapy” and I need to get my audition tape made ASAP. Imagine – spending a week with Jeff, Jenni, and Zoila – that’s better than free reign of Lisa Vanderpump’s closet!
Jeff and Andy break down what’s been going on in the land of Lewis since the show stopped filming and apparently Jeff has only seen Sarah twice and Trace once since they were let go of JLD. Jeff confirms he is in his new redecorated home, his income has doubled since Gage convinced him to cut the dead weight, he is definitely planning kids sooner than later, and he is now representing Zoila as her manager – he’ll be getting 90% and she still only gets free room and board. Jeff was much softer during this interview and had so many humble (for him!) moments where he admitted how much the people in his life meant to him – like when he said he couldn’t live without Gage, Zoila, and Jenni. It was nice.
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In the wake of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, several of the castmembers of Real Housewives of New York City spoke to PEOPLE offering their sympathy and support to Taylor Armstrong and defending Bravo against any allegations that reality TV may have been involved in Russell’s decision to take his own life. Since the casting, apparently, hasn’t been “officially” finalized yet – I guess these ladies are doing some sucking up!
Taking a break from Pinot-ing, Ramona Singer, offered her perspective: “I think it is very tragic. But I don’t think that the reality show is to blame for his unfortunate death. I think he had problems. And it’s sad when someone has so many problems, they feel the only way they can eliminate their pain is by taking their life.”
Krazy Kelly Bensimon, also offered her support to the network paying her bills, declaring: “I would never blame it on the show.” Just like she didn’t “blame” the show for forcing her to go on Scary Island and be subjected to “systematic bullying”? Anyways, in a shocking turn, Ms. Bensimon went on to give an insightful statement about what Russell’s reasons: “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors. And no one can judge. It’s no one’s job to do that. A lot of people speculate.”
Also extending statements of support and empathy, Sonja Morgan relayed: “My heart goes out to her [Taylor] and I’m here for her. But I never intrude,” Sonja explained. “She knows I’m here, but sometimes being helpful is just staying out of someone’s business.”
Alex McCord, on the other hand, took the classy (am I allowed to use the dread “C” word to describe her?) approach – declining to comment at all, stating: “I don’t even feel comfortable talking about that publicly.”
And noticeably absent from the roster of RHoNYC castmembers speaking about the events is theJill Zarin! Could it be… that Jill, who is rumored to be hiding out vacationing in Italy with husband, Bawby has been … dropped from the lineup?! Likely not, given that Andy Cohen is still vacationing happily instead of entering the Witness Protection Program!
Which brings me to my next bit of news, unfortunately for all us former fans, The NY Post is now reporting that Bravo is feeling skittish about involving any new housewives in the franchise – despite some attempts to recast in the hopes of including more “downtown types.” As you recall, with the exception of last season’s newbie Cindy Bore-shop, there have been no offical rumors speculating about who Bravo was considering replacing, however a source reveals: “They looked at over 30 women, and narrowed it to three [new cast members].”
But after the unexpected tragedy with Russell Armstrong, the network became nervous about shaking things up; and especially concerned about informing castmembers they were out. “The last thing they need right now are more surprises,” the source explains. “The first one to get axed is going to write a book, and these girls know the secrets of production. The show’s still working on some level, even if Bravo is tired of the story lines.”
A rep from Bravo confirms the last statement, explaining: “Production was pushed, as we are finalizing some details for the new season. The cast will be notified once shooting is about to commence.”
Soon to be fired castmember Cindy also echoed that sentiment, telling the HollywoodLife blog that Bravo will be making the casting decision this week. “Obviously nobody’s got it going down right now, but soon — probably another week everybody will know,” said Cindy late last week.
A Bravo insider reveals the network has to send a letter notifying the cast members that their options have been picked up. The women then have the choice to accept the offer. “After the girls accept, that’s when Bravo would announce season five,” the insider says. “The girls will be notified right before filming begins.”
And there you have it. I guess, Bravo already knows what to expect from the current crazy … Too bad they can’t trust that the fans are all really tired of the storylines and the ladies, as well. Perhaps if the ratings take a nosedive that will get Cohen, et al to finally wake up! Or we could always start a Twitition…
Do you think Bravo will recast any of the ladies except Cindy? Are you surprised by the network’s reaction? Will you be watching if the cast (and the subsequent storylines) remain the same?
“Alright so Gia finally has a Twitter account! It’s @TrueGia It’s really her, but her mgr @XistTalentMaria monitors it so be nice! She’s 10!” wrote Teresa, adding, “Love love love you @TrueGia !!! Can’t believe your first tweet was to @BravoAndy though and not me! xx.”
Bravo’s own Andy Cohen also welcomed the 5th grader to the twitter! Andy tweeted to Gia: “@TrueGia omg gia i didn’t see this tweet! i need you to come demo your fierce runway walk on wwhl! XOX.”
Some are however criticizing Teresa for allowing her young daughter to own a twitter account, citing she might be too young to handle all the attention, both good and bad. Teresa however assures us Gia’s account is monitored by an adult.
“Gia’s Twitter @TrueGia is monitored & filtered by her mgr @XistTalentMaria so she will only see/respond to nice msgs xx,” wrote Teresa. It appears this is to help Gia’s career as she’s trying to get into acting and modeling.
As for G to the I-A, the little one appears beyond excited to be on twitter and has been tweeting up a storm. Below are some of Gia’s adorable tweets -
TELL US – OKAY FOR 10-YEAR-OLD GIA TO TWEET? OR DO YOU THINK SHE’S TOO YOUNG?
Taylor Armstrong and her now deceased husbandRussell Armstrong grace the latest cover of UsWeekly magazine under the heading “Reality Suicide Dark Secrets Exposed, Destroyed by Their Pursuit of Fame.”
While the mag touches on a lot of issues with the couple, perhaps the most shocking tidbit is the fact that Taylor, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, might have tried to capitalize on the tragic death of Russell. UsWeekly reports that Taylor’s rep “tried to shop her story to press outlets for $100,000.” Wow. One can only assume the rep was doing this with Taylor’s consent.
An insider also tells UsWeekly that in the days following Russell’s death, Taylor was asking how much money she would get from his estate. Russell’s attorney has however publicly stated Russell was broke and had no assets at the time of his death.
The mag touches on how the Armstrongs lived beyond their means while pursuing fame. In fact, family and friends of the duo paint a portrait of an ambitious, financially overextended couple desperate to be on TV and to live in the most coveted zip code at all costs.
Russell’s sister Laurie Kelsoe spoke to the mag stating that proud trophy wife Taylor was desperate to be on RHOBH: “It was all she wanted.” A show insider adds that the Oklahoma native, who bragged about her frequent cosmetic procedures and threw her daughter a $60,000 birthday party last season, “had a need to prove she was worthy.”
However it wasn’t just Taylor, whose opening credits for season 2 was intended to be “I fought too hard for this zip code to go home now,” who wanted fame. Russell was also on board for the ride. “He thought it was a good way for them to make money,” adds the source. This falls in line with a comment Russell made in one of his last interviews in which he called Bravo “bastards” while stating publicity from the show was good for his businesses.
And in other to get on the show, Taylor and Russell exaggerated their wealth. “Bravo cast them because they claimed they owned their house and had a real estate portfolio and major businesses. None of it was true,” says a source. The Armstrongs apparently pretended to own their modest $9,000-a-month rental house in L.A.’s Bel Air Crest neighborhood.
Once she joined the show, Taylor tried to keep up with the Joneses. “She was jealous of the way the other women on the show were living,” says a Taylor source. Laurie goes on to add that Taylor racked up a $90,000 American Express bill in July alone. “Russell was spending more than he made,” says his lawyer Ronald Richards. “He maxed out his credit cards.”
Russell’s grieving business partner John Indelicato however brings up a good point in the article when he wonders why Russell ever sought the spotlight: “If you have skeletons and don’t want them out there, you don’t go on a reality show.” Very valid point.
While it appears there were no takers for the $100,000 interview Taylor’s rep was shopping around, the NY Post is reporting today that Taylor is in talks with Bravo about doing an hour long sit-down interview.
“Bravo wants to do a sit-down, one-hour special with [Bravo exec VP and host] Andy Cohen,” said a source. Another source added, “They’ve been discussing options for a week, but no programming has been formalized.”
And while a Bravo rep tried to deny the report by stating, “It’s not true, there are no plans like that,” it seems they forgot to send a memo to Taylor’s rep who confirmed there had been talks. “There is dialogue with Bravo, but no decisions have been made. Anything would be conjecture,” said Taylor’s rep.
The Post used the words “negotiating for an interview” so it would appear there is money involved. Taylor’s rep however makes it clear her client is still grieving over her loss. The rep states Taylor is “still devastated” and hasn’t personally engaged in any talks.
And finally, the current issue of the National Enquirer posted some older photos of Taylor and Russell together including photos of Russell’s sons from his previous relationships. Those photos are below. You can read more about the couple in the current issues of UsWeekly and the National Enquirer. Photo credit: WENN.
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Russell and Taylor Amrstrong with Prince Charles in 2007
Russell Armstrong’s sons from previous relationships alongside Taylor and daughter Kennedy at a family Christmas outing.
Taylor released the following statement through her rep: “Taylor Armstrong is devastated by the tragic events that have unfolded. She requests privacy at this time so that she may comfort her young daughter. Her thoughts and prayers are also with Russell’s 11 and 13 year old sons.”
Sources tell RadarOnline Taylor has been “hysterical” since finding out about Russell’s suicide last night. The insider reveals Taylor “has been up all night. She is hysterical, and can barely speak. She has no idea why Russell would do this. She doesn’t know how she is going to be able to tell her daughter, Kennedy.” TMZ confirms Taylor has yet to break the news to her 5-year-old daughter Kennedy.
As for what might have led to Russell’s suicide, his attorney confirms it all had to do with his impending divorce as well as mounting financial and legal problems. Russell’s lawyer Ronald Richards states, “I feel bad because his credit cards weren’t working … He had tremendous financial problems.” Ronald adds that even if Russell has a will, he had no assets.
Meanwhile, Andy Cohenand other Housewives also reacted to the tragic news. Below are some of the tweets -
Andy Cohen – “I am so very sad about today’s news. My prayers and thoughts are with Taylor Armstrong and her family.”
Camille Grammer - “My sympathy and condolences go out to Taylor and Kennedy. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Adrienne Maloof – “”My heart goes out to Taylor Armstrong and Kennedy during this devastating time. You will be in my thoughts and in prayers.”
Caroline Manzo - “So sorry 2 hear about Russell Armstrong’s death. I hope @taylorarmstrong’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.”
Jacqueline Laurita – “When I hear REAL problems like what’s happened w/ @TaylorArmstrong’s family,it puts everything else that I feel r problems into perspective.”
Jill Zarin – “Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Russell Armstrong. My love and prayers to @TaylorArmstrong and her daughter.”
Ramona Singer - “My prayers and thoughts go out to Taylor Armstrong and her family.”
Countess Luann – “Such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Taylor and Kennedy and the Armstrong family.”
Gretchen Rossi – “No words can express how much my heart is breaking for my fellow housewife sister @taylorarmstrong and her daughter. Please keep her and her family in your prayers and thoughts today. RIP Russell Armstrong.”
Alexis Bellino - “We are praying so hard for the Armstrong family. We can’t imagine what they’re going through. Take a minute today to hug everyone you love.”
Photo credit: WENN.
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UPDATE: Russell’s lawyer Ronald tells PEOPLE that Russell showed no signs of depression. The lawyer however adds that Russell was a loving family man who spent every dwindling dollar he had to finance Taylor’s lifestyle. “He was a good networker. But as a couple, they lived way beyond their means,” added Ronald.
Bravo executive and talk show host Andy Cohen is planning to write a memoir!
Andy, 43, himself made the announcement Monday on his blog. “It’ll be a memoir, of sorts, about my intersections with pop culture over the years, from growing up in front of the TV as a kid in St. Louis to my years at CBS News, all the way up to today,” he wrote.
The book will chronicle Andy’s journey from a closeted gay teen growing up in 1970s suburban St. Louis to a multi-hyphenate cable television powerhouse. The yet-untitled book, which is being published by Henry Holt and Company, will be released next summer.
In other news, Huffington Post columnist Rob Shuter tweeted days ago that the Real Housewives of New York City will find out this week who will be returning or getting the axe.
Filming on the new season will reportedly begin by labor day. And judging from recent comments by Andy Cohen, it’s safe to assume there will be a major shake-up with the cast.
Rob also tweeted last week that two of the RHONY housewives are so desperate to remain on the show that they told Bravo they are willing to take a huge pay “cut in $270,000 per season they make.” Wowzers. Of course, we will report on the latest the minute the cast announcement is made.
TELL US – WILL YOU READ ANDY’S MEMOIR? THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST WITH THE RHONY CASTING?
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter states Andy received a “low seven-figure” amount for his forthcoming memoir.
On last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey the year may have changed, but everything is still exactly the same. Teresa can’t get along with anyone she is related to, by proxy or otherwise; Jacqueline can’t deal with Ashley, Caroline just wishes she had never gotten involved, and Melissa tries in vain to reason with crazy. Oh yeah, Kathy was there too – kinda.
The Caroline is back on the radio and she’s tawking about New Year’s Resolutions and Ashley calls in and said her resolution is to leave reality TV. I wish! The Caroline gets a call from a person who is being nice to someone who just won’t be nice back; Caroline encourages this person to continue to be good and pure. Guess who is coincidentally listening while wearing her fur coat? Melissa! Melissa, thinking – I’m a good and loving person dealing with someone who just won’t reciprocate, I will not be intimidated – calls Teresa to extend the Swarovski encrusted olive branch, and arrange a playdate between their girls.
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