‘Vanderpump Rules’ EP Alex Baskin Denies Cast Claims of Interference, Addresses Future of the Show

“I think that was a pretty dramatic, heightened account of what happened.”

That’s something that Alex Baskin — the boss of Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” — said at Variety’s TV FYC Fest, during a panel called “Reality Producers Tell All.” He was refuting recent claims made by “Vanderpump Rules” cast member Scheana Shay, who has said of late that during production on the show’s 11th season last summer, Baskin made a veiled threat to the cast about canceling the show if it didn’t improve.

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“I know Alex Baskin has said that midseason, the show was not in a good place,” Shay said on her “Scheananigans” podcast. “It was, you know, ‘X, Y and Z needs to happen. Or we’re going to have a short season, and the show’s going to be canceled and that’s it. Go live your lives.’”

In saying that, Shay was trying to offer an explanation for why she and Lala Kent seemed to turn on their friend Ariana Madix — instead, favoring Madix’s ex-partner Tom Sandoval — as the season went on. These developments culminated in the show’s May 7 finale, when Madix walked out of the season-ending party rather than be subjected to a tearful (without actual tears!) Sandoval performance of an apology. Afterward, Kent blew up after Madix’s departure, and broke the fourth wall on camera, saying “for Ariana to walk out this way is just such a slap in the face,” before accusing Madix of thinking she’s both God and Beyoncé.

On the panel, Baskin offered an account of this midseason meeting.

“We did get the entire cast together, and we thought we had hit a point in the season where I actually think that they were impacted by what was happening on social media,” he said. “We basically were telling them to drown out the noise, and to make the show that they had made over the previous 10 seasons — and that didn’t mean we asked them to manufacture anything.”

“It didn’t mean that we gave them any specific talking points,” he continued. “It just meant that we had made a show that worked because it was everybody rowing in the same direction, and reacting to each other. And we’ve gotten away from that. So we thought that we had to intervene in that sense.”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06: Alex Baskin speaks on stage during the "Reality Producers Tell All" panel at Variety's TV FYC Fest at 1 Hotel West Hollywood on June 06, 2024 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Variety via Getty Images)
Alex Baskin speaks on stage during the “Reality Producers Tell All” panel at Variety’s TV FYC Fest at 1 Hotel West Hollywood on June 6, 2024 in West Hollywood, California.

Production on Season 11 of “Vanderpump Rules” began in late June 2023, only a few months after the news broke about the “Scandoval,” the term for Sandoval’s affair with then-castmate Rachel Leviss, which blew up his nine-year relationship with Ariana Madix. The affair — hidden from the 10th season’s cameras until Baskin’s team picked up the cameras again to film a new finale — made the season a delightful puzzle to viewers, and propelled the show both to ratings highs and two Emmy nominations.

But restarting a brand-new season in the aftermath of the Scandoval proved to be difficult. In early May, Bravo confirmed that “Vanderpump Rules” is “on pause” — to use the network’s parlance for taking a break.

Baskin said “we’ll have a clearer picture a few months from now” about “Vanderpump Rules,” because “it was such an intense experience in such a compressed timeframe.”

“I think we will do an analysis of what else we need to consider for the show — and that’s who returns, and what the complexion of the cast looks like,” Baskin said. “I think everybody needs a little bit of time to live their lives, and then we can pick back up on them in a different spot.”

“The Valley,” Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” spinoff led by Jax Taylor, Brittany Cartwright, Kristen Doute and cast members new to the Bravoverse, is definitely not on pause, having had the highest-rated premiere of a new Bravo show in 10 years. Its successful first season that concluded earlier this week.

“We go into production very shortly, and I’m excited about that, because obviously all chaos is broken out in their lives,” Baskin said, referring to the now-exploded marriages of Cartwright and Taylor and Jesse and Michelle Lally.

Despite the pending future awkwardness of estranged couples interacting, the cast of “The Valley” will not be deterred.

“Everyone is coming back, which is great!” Baskin said. “We’re very excited to pick up with everyone in a different place, and see what happens.”

Elsewhere on the “Reality Producers Tell All” panel were Tom Campbell, the executive producer of “RuPaul’s Drag Race;” Isabel San Vargas, president of production and operations at Propagate Content, and an executive producer of “The GOAT;” Jen Darrow, an executive producer of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and the senior VP of programming and production at Citizen Pictures; and Courtney White, president, Butternut Media.

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