‘Scandoval’ Frenzy Led to a Tougher ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Shoot on Season 11

One of the many pleasures of Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” is the backdrop it provides for its messy dramas between friends and lovers (and ex-friends and lovers). It’s one of the great L.A. shows, as the cast’s fondness for fine dining, drinking, and spa days generates an ongoing guided tour of Hollywood hot spots. But getting access to those locations and maintaining the show’s unobtrusive style isn’t easy, especially in the wake of last season’s “Scandoval” blow-up, which made everyone on the show exponentially more famous and created a paparazzi feeding frenzy.

“Our team collectively knew this was going to be a harder season, but I don’t think that we anticipated some of the on-the-ground challenges,” executive producer Alex Baskin told IndieWire’s Toolkit podcast. “Every time we were out in public there would be paparazzi, there would be people shooting the show on their phone. We’re used to that to a certain extent, and you find that across all of the shows, but being in L.A. and with the attention paid to this show in general, where developments are reported on or speculated on all the time…that became something we had to contend with.”

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Typically, the producers of “Vanderpump Rules” try to pre-clear as many locations as possible by asking the cast members where they think they’ll want to socialize. “[The locations] originate with the cast, and then our hope is that on that very day, we can go to that place, but we might have to go to their second choice,” Baskin said. Although scrambling to get permissions for wherever the cast wants to go on any given day can be stressful, Baskin feels it’s a big part of the show’s appeal. “The show has been really fun as a showcase of L.A., and I love all of the faddish things the cast will do.”

The biggest challenge on Season 11 of “Vanderpump Rules” has been keeping the show authentic when its growing popularity has meant so much added scrutiny. “It’s easy to lose your focus when it feels like people are intensely watching,” Baskin said. “This group has done a great job of tuning out the cameras all of this time; really more than any other group that I’ve ever worked with, they just don’t see them and don’t [acknowledge] that they’re there. But they noticed something different this time around…there were a lot of prying eyes.”

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