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AlexBaskinRachelLeviss.jpg

‘Vanderpump Rules’ Showrunner Alex Baskin Confirms Door Is Closed to Rachel Leviss

By Emma Chance | TV | January 31, 2024 |

By Emma Chance | TV | January 31, 2024 |


AlexBaskinRachelLeviss.jpg

Well, the long-awaited Scandoval sequel, Vanderpump Rules season 11, finally premiered last night, and it was interesting to see the emotional development of the cast following the cheating scandal. Most of them—excluding Ariana Madix and Katie Maloney, in my opinion, who are riding the highs of their respective breakups a little too hard and are maybe regressing rather than growing—seem to have aged 10 years, and talk about their post-season 10 experiences with a truly shocking level of self-awareness for reality stars (I’m mostly talking about LaLa Kent here, but honestly James Kennedy, Tom Schwartz, and even Scheana Shay surprised me too.)

One half of Scandoval, Rachel Leviss, has been on an emotional healing journey of her own. After running away, seeking treatment, and blocking Tom Sandoval, Leviss has started a podcast, Rachel Goes Rogue, where she’s been telling her side of the story. (I tried to listen, but honestly, the back and forth between her and her producer in the first episode was giving me ‘leading the witness’ vibes, and I just couldn’t do it. That girl is prime meat for manipulators and it makes me sad.)

Before season 11 aired, there were rumors that Rachel was thinking about returning to the show. She made it clear, though, that she thought she deserved to be compensated at least as much as Sandoval for the bump in ratings the show experienced after their affair and that didn’t happen. Showrunner Alex Baskin told The Hollywood Reporter that the rest of the cast renegotiated their salaries after season 10, as he expected them to, and that those negotiations were civil and everyone got what they wanted. Everyone except Leviss, who blew it when she “went off and told her story just in a different forum.” He’s probably referring to her appearance on Bethenny Frankel’s podcast as well as the creation of her own.

“I think probably based on the counsel of people around her, she just couldn’t wrap her mind around doing the show, and so she just went elsewhere,” was the nicest thing Baskin said about Leviss, whom he clearly resents. When asked if Leviss has said anything on her podcast that he wanted to respond to, he said:

“I don’t really care to get into the specifics of what she’s said. I haven’t honestly listened. I’ve just seen reports of it. Some of it seems pretty contradictory to me, some of it I would certainly have a different viewpoint on. But I think, look, let her speak her piece.”

It’s an interesting stance and not one I’d expect a showrunner to take. They could have easily given her a raise, brought her back, and let the shit hit the fan, but he admits they were concerned for her mental health immediately after the season 10 reunion, the events of which led them to delay when they picked up filming for season 11 because they realized everyone on the cast needed a break. He also said, “We really wanted not to talk about Scandoval all season,” and, “I thought heading into this season that it might be the last.”

I think they rightly realized that the tone of the reunion wouldn’t age well and didn’t want a whole season of that, so they gave everyone some breathing room and ditched Leviss for a more compelling storyline: the swift rise and inevitable fall of Madix. Or as Schwartz calls her in a confessional, “Queen Ariana, patron saint of scorned women.” That I’m excited to watch.

New episodes of Vanderpump Rules air on Tuesday nights on Bravo and stream on Peacock the next day.