Tom Sandoval‘s affair with Rachel “Raquel” Leviss turned Vanderpump Rules into a cultural phenomenon — but not without adding new complications.
During the Wednesday, January 31, episode of the “Give Them Lala” podcast, Lala Kent asked EP Alex Baskin what he meant when he referred to Scandoval as “the worst thing that ever happened” to Vanderpump Rules.
“Contrary to what certain people in certain quarters have said of that controversy saving the show, the truth is we were making a great show in season 10,” Baskin said in response to the suggestion that Sandoval’s infidelity saved the Bravo show from cancellation. “In fact, we had made a great season. It was a bounce back season and the audience was into it.”
Baskin noted that expectations for future seasons are too high, “I felt like there is a danger in burning too fast and too brightly,” he said. “I also thought, ‘That is the one thing to happen to this group that has threatened to tear everyone apart.’ Everything else has been something we were able to overcome and I didn’t know that we could put the pieces back together.”
While reflecting on the aftermath, Baskin recalled having moments where he wished Scandoval “never happened.”
News broke in March 2023 that Ariana Madix and Sandoval, 41, called it quits on their nearly 10-year relationship due to his affair with Leviss, 29. As a result, cameras captured more footage for a new season finale to document the scandal.
As ratings skyrocketed, current and former stars of the show used the opportunity to create even more success for themselves.
Madix, 38, came out on top by taking part in season 32 of Dancing With the Stars, joining Broadway’s Chicago as Roxie Hart in a six-week run, releasing her new cocktail book, Single AF Cocktails, and preparing to open her sandwich shop Something About Her with Katie Maloney. She was also crowned Us Weekly‘s inaugural Reality Star of the Year.
Despite backlash, Sandoval remained in the spotlight by going on tour with. his band, Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras, appeared on Fox’s Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test and started a podcast titled “Everybody Loves Tom.”
Leviss, on the other hand, initially took a step back from the limelight, entering a mental health facility after the reunion and quitting the show. More recently, however, she launched her “Rachel Goes Rogue” podcast, which is largely about her former costars.
Baskin concluded that there have been some benefits to Scandoval despite the overwhelming response.
“[My opinion] could [change] and there were] other things that have come out of it like The Valley. It may or may not have happened if there wasn’t that momentum,” he added on Thursday. “Things change in unexpected ways. But that is the way for a while that I felt and that is still my analysis.”
Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules airs on Bravo Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET and will be available to stream on Peacock the next day.