Vanderpump Rules Producer Dishes on When Season 11 Will Film and Casting, Says Raquel Received “Death Threats,” and Talks New Reunion “Revelations,” Plus Behind the Scenes of Scandoval

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Vanderpump Rules Producer Shares Behind the Scenes of Scandoval, Why Raquel Attended Reunion and Restraining Order Drama, Plus Teases New Information, Season 11 Filming Date and Cast

Credit: Nicole Weingart/Bravo

The Vanderpump Rules cast needs a break.

As Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss‘ affair and devastating betrayal of Ariana Madix continues to be a hot topic in the Bravo universe, and just about everywhere else, executive producer Alex Baskin has confirmed that the cast, who went back into production in early March to film additional scenes for season 10, is taking some time off.

In an interview with Variety earlier this week, Alex spoke of the future of the show, whose currently airing 10th season has become its most-watched, with an average of 2.5 million viewers tuning in each week on Bravo, Peacock, and on-demand.

Looking back on the sudden return to production, Alex said, “We had cameras back up on March 3,” which was two days after Ariana discovered then-boyfriend Sandoval’s infidelity.

“For us to be able to go to the network and to say, ‘You guys, this is a moment’ — of course, we didn’t know what it would become, but we knew we needed to capture it,” he said. “They got us all of the necessary approvals and clearances so that we could tell the story in real-time. That’s why what you’re seeing is pure verité.”

Although fans saw parts of a heated discussion between Ariana and Sandoval during the Pump Rules finale episode on Wednesday, Alex said that if the reunion hadn’t been scheduled for later that month, the episode could’ve been extended.

That scene “was one of the first times that they had spoken to each other since she found out about the relationship with Raquel,” he noted.

As cameras went back up on the season, Alex said he knew that certain scenarios would need to make the cut.

“Tom and Ariana — and it would be disappointing if you didn’t see them,” he revealed. “You wanted Tom and Raquel, you wanted to see Tom and Tom, and you wanted to see some version of the friend group. Now, in an ideal world, you would get everyone together, and you might have gotten Raquel talking to Ariana as well.”

While Alex was able to capture a brief and very cringeworthy moment between Sandoval and Raquel, he admitted that the scene was concerning as he signaled to legal action Raquel had taken against Scheana Shay, in the form of a restraining order, and the rest of the cast, via a legal letter regarding a sexual video Sandoval had made of the two of them on FaceTime.

“Fortunately, we did not get a cease and desist — I always joke that we have a coffee table book full of them, but we didn’t get one there,” Alex laughed. “There were a lot of things that we knew that hadn’t leaked yet — but we had some inclination that the restraining order was coming.”

“We felt like we were in the middle of something that we had to try to control, but probably couldn’t,” he added.

As Pump Rules fans have surely seen, there have been reports suggesting that “Scandoval” was a complete fabrication, created by producers for ratings. But according to Alex, he and his team were in the dark and had no solid evidence that an affair was taking place.

“It obviously was something that was discussed,” Alex said. “But we didn’t take it that seriously, because it just seemed so farfetched and so devious. And so, I’m an idiot! I was completely dismissive of it.”

“Everything that we knew was on the show when we knew it,” he continued.

That said, he acknowledged that certain moments raised questions — even from Bravo, who reportedly told him, “It seems like we know too much here.”

“It’s like, try watching The Sixth Sense again,” Alex explained. “It seems really obvious after the fact — not because we edited it, but because you know.”

As Raquel’s rep confirmed she’s still being treated for mental health concerns at an undisclosed location, Alex admitted to feeling she was “going through more” than people realized amid season 10.

“It’s just really painful to watch,” he said. “Raquel is very childlike. There’s this sense that she’s this criminal mastermind. I don’t think it’s that deep!”

While Alex did worry about Raquel’s instability during production, it wasn’t something that he felt needed to be cut from the show.

“We don’t want to exploit anyone — that’s not good in any sense,” Alex noted. “It’s not good morally, it doesn’t make good television. But adults make adult decisions.”

Lisa Vanderpump also spoke of Raquel’s behavior on the show after it was described as a “journey.”

“A ‘journey’ — that’s nice a nice word for it! A journey where she ended up flat on her back with her the legs in the air,” she responded.

And when it comes to claims of storyline fabrication, Lisa added, “I’d like to think that feeling superseded any quest you had for storyline. Because boy, it’s come at a hell of a price. I think there were genuine feelings there. But she just handled everything wrong.”

And so did Sandoval, as Lisa shared.

“He just handled everything back to front, and upside down,” she described.

Following the completion of the main episodes of Pump Rules season 10, Alex and his team were faced with reunion challenges due to Raquel’s restraining order against Scheana, which has since been dismissed.

“We came to find out that we couldn’t even have them remotely communicate with each other, because that arguably would’ve violated it,” Alex said. “[And] the logistics of it were too difficult [to reschedule].”

“As much as it would’ve been great to get them together, just the choreography of that is pretty interesting,” he added.

It was also challenging to include non-“Scandoval” topics “because the group was a mob.”

“We covered everything else the best we could, but emotions ran as high as you would think, and I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get through the entire day,” he confessed.

Although Raquel was contractually obligated to attend the taping, Alex suggested that he and his team would’ve allowed her to skip it due to the death threats she was receiving at the time.

“She was having a really tough time, and we were very clear with her and her team that she had to feel comfortable being there,” he recalled. “And if she didn’t, we understood.”

As for why she ultimately decided to take part in the taping, Alex said he believed she wanted to see Ariana.

“I think that part of it was she wanted to be able to see Ariana, and she wanted to be accountable,” he shared. “And it’s sort of up to the viewers to decide what they think about all of that. But it was important for her to be there, and we were assured that she was OK being there.”

Moving on to the future of the show, Alex said that because the reunion will air through June 7 and includes stunning revelations that even the cast hasn’t yet heard, he feels it’s important to give them a break before cameras go back up for season 11.

“The reunion is not just a recap of what you know, and it’s not just an intense version of the emotions,” he teased. “There is new information… There are revelations, and they are revelations that not all of them know now. So we need a little space… We need a minute.”

While production isn’t expected to begin until this summer, as Alex confirmed, that’s not to say that contracts haven’t been discussed.

“No one’s saying no, I’ll say that — but I think it’s hard for anybody to say yes right now, because they feel like they haven’t gotten any reprieve,” he said of the cast.

As he and the group enjoy some time away from the cameras, Alex has been in touch with Raquel’s rep in regard to her participation in season 11.

“She and people around her have to feel OK about it. And so that’s why I also think that waiting a little bit helps,” he explained.

But whatever she and the rest of the cast decides, they won’t likely be able to do much negotiating in terms of their paychecks.

“There’s a pay scale that we’ve tended to use for tenure,” Alex revealed. “I think that the group knows that it isn’t like the ratings necessarily translate into — there aren’t riches on the other side, and there’s a sort of reality of the business.”

Alex also said that he’s not ruling out the returns of other former cast members of the show after welcoming Kristen Doute back for the finale.

“This is not a show that you can plug an outsider into,” he noted. “So we definitely have those conversations. And in real life, they are still all friends.”

And Lisa seemed to agree, although she wasn’t so sure if Bravo would allow certain cast members to come back.

“I like to see people learn from their mistakes, even if they’re held accountable as an example: chastised, castigated by me, by the audience — learn from their mistakes,” she reasoned. “Bravo, they let them go. I don’t know if there’s any coming back from it.”

As he considers an exact start date for this summer, Alex said he doesn’t want to wait too long.

“It’s definitely a balancing act, because we don’t want too much time to elapse,” he explained. “We can also, as we’ve proven, get cameras up if we need to. If Tom and Ariana happen to move, we’re up.”

“But, I think that we need enough time to pass that we’re not just caught in this vortex,” he added.

The three-part Vanderpump Rules season 10 reunion begins next Wednesday, May 24, at 9/8c on Bravo.

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