The coronavirus pandemic has shaken up the television industry as much as every other segment of the economy, and many long-running shows have been forced to shut down production with no idea of when they'll resume.
And in the case of Vanderpump Rules, the question is not when the cast will start filming a new season, but if.
As you're probably aware, Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were recently fired from the show amid allegations that they engaged in racially-motivated, targeted harassment of co-star Faith Stowers.
Fans have called for Jax Taylor to be fired from the show amid reports that he engaged in the same behavior and even took the bullying a step further.
In Jax's case, the allegations involving Stowers were the latest in a long line of scandals in which marginalized people had accused Taylor of some truly appalling acts of bigotry.
As of this writing, he is still employed by Bravo.
Many believe that the only reason Jax has not been fired is that the network is planning to cancel Vanderpump Rules entirely.
The remaining stars of the series have mostly been quiet on that subject, but earlier this week, Scheana Shay broke her silence and revealed that while she's received no confirmation of the show's return, she's currently planning on appearing in VPR Season 9.
Her comments came in response to fan speculation about Scheana's decision to move to San Diego to live with her new boyfriend, Brock Davies.
“Y’all just bc I’m moving now, does NOT mean I’m quitting the show. I love my job!!” Scheana tweeted.
“We aren’t filming right now. SUR/LA is closed. I’m wasting so much $ on rent and I’m lonely all the way out in PS. It just makes sense. Once work opens/picks back up, I will too have an apt in LA!” she added.
“Cast members still have not heard anything from Bravo regarding picking back up filming VPR again."
Scheana noted that she's not “confirming nor denying anything” when it comes to season 9.
“I know as much as y’all know. And all I know is we aren’t filming or open right now so I have no reason to be paying rent in La for the time being,” she wrote.
“Brock’s lease is up. It’s the smart move to save $$.”
Vanderpump star and Tom-Tom co-owner Tom Sandoval was the first to comment on the show's future, but he did so in much more vague terms.
“It’s crazy,” he told St. Louis’ News 4 in June. “It definitely changes things and honestly, we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens.”
At the moment, it's difficult to imagine Bravo taking a risk by bringing the show back, especially as the controversies came at a time when interest in Vanderpump Rules seemed to be waning.
But it's possible that execs could use this opportunity to right some wrongs and revamp a franchise that had been running out of steam.
In a recent podcast interview, Scheana's friend Jasmine Goode hinted that she's spoken with producers the possibility of becoming the first full-time Black cast member in the show's history:
“I think it’d be great! One, I think it’d be great because you guys do not have anybody that looks anything like me on the show. So No. 1, you need some [Black] representation there," Goode said.
Goode previously appeared on season 21 of The Bachelor and season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise.
"The thing about Vanderpump which I love, the reason I would consider it is because it’s not like The Bachelor where it’s all about love. This is your life. You’re filming your life, everyday things, and I think that’s so cool,” Jasmine told Scheana on her “Scheananigans” podcast in July earlier this month.
“I’m friends with [the cast], of course. It’s like, if I’m filming, yes, I’ll film with Scheana. It’s not a big deal. This is what we normally do.”
Sounds like the casting of Goode could be a much-needed step in the right direction -- but producers should still fire Jax Taylor.