September 05, 2011 2:46pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Premiere: Cast Members Discuss Russell Armstrong Suicide on 'Today' (Video)
Bravo's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will return to broadcast on its regularly scheduled premiere date, following the shocking suicide of Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband, Russell Armstrong.
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Prior to the Labor Day Season 2 premiere, Adrianne Maloof, Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards appeared on the Today Show along with executive producer Douglas Ross. The group discussed their reactions to Armstrong's death, as well as the decisions across the board to continue with the reality show.
"It was a complete shock to us. I always saw him as being reserved and quiet. I knew that they had their issues but no one could have ever anticipated something like this," Richards said of the Armstrong suicide.
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When asked whether executives behind-the-scenes had considered nixing the show altogether, Ross explained that the show would attempt to depict a real and honest story with added sensitivity.
"When we heard about the tragedy, of course our hearts went out to Taylor and all of our thoughts to support her. But we along with the network took a hard look at the show and looked at it very thoroughly," he said. "We decided to make some adjustments where appropriate in a lot of the circumstances. Our goal has always been to make an honest and accurate story about the ladies and what goes on in their life and we wanted to be and we always are respectful and responsible. In this case trying to be very appropriate to the situation."
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Promotional spots for the upcoming episode have opted to focus on the light, goofy humor often associated with the housewives, rather than addressing the heart wrenching drama surrounding Armstrong's death. "In the first few episodes that we've completed editing, Russell is not included in those episodes," Ross explained. "But it is important to note that Taylor's story is told throughout the season."
Much speculation has been made as to whether the network is at all responsible for Armstrong's death, as his crumbling marriage was frequently featured on the reality show -- an idea that Vanderpump believes is unfounded.
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"We lead and they follow. We kind of create and they document," she said of the constant dramatics featured on the show. "I've never felt any responsibility to bring drama. I think if you follow the lives of six people over a year, and we've all had some major issues in the last year and a half. They just tell the accurate story."
Watch the group's appearance below. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Monday, Sept. 5 at 9 p.m.