All The 'Proof' The Scandoval Affair May Have Been Staged To Boost 'Vanderpump Rules' Ratings

Fans have found some pretty damning evidence that suggests producers were in on it all.

Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, Raquel Leviss Joe Seer, DFree, Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock & CanvaPro

March 3 will, for fans of “Vanderpump Rules,” forever go down in history as the day Scandoval broke and the Bravo world stopped, jaws dropped, upon learning that Tom Sandoval cheated on his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix, with their mutual friend and fellow cast mate, Raquel Leviss.

But now, as the affair that broke the internet begins to play out on our screens in the form of an explosive finale and much-anticipated reunion episodes, a new theory is forming: Scandoval is a setup.


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Was Scandoval staged?

Bravo sources claim there was no staging of the scandal. The source told The New York Post that producers were aware of “rumors” of the affair but brushed them off. 

However, loyal fans have a different perspective.



It is speculated that the ‘Scandoval’ drama was planned to boost ‘Vanderpump Rules’ ratings.

Unsurprisingly, the long-running reality show has experienced a massive boost in ratings since the scandal broke. Variety reported that a March 8 episode, the first since news of the affair was made public, drew 2.2 million viewers across the platform — double the ratings from the previous week. Fans think that was the goal all along.


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Evidence allegedly shows producers were creating a storyline around Leviss and Sandoval’s affair.

Anyone keeping up with the VPR cast mates’ many podcast appearances and social media posts would believe the group was “blindsided” but the cheating debacle. Lala Kent even claimed on her podcast, “Give Them Lala” that producers had no clue what was happening.

Madix says the same. She told the host of TODAY that a showrunner on the reality show was, “As devastated as I was on some level.”



But, with the season playing out on TV after the dawn of Scandoval, viewers have watched an entire season of subtle hints that Sandoval, 39, and Leviss, 28, were dating or — at the very least — a little too close for comfort.


Episodes filmed in September see newcomer Abby Lewber mentioning that she saw Sandoval and Leviss dancing together at the LA bar The Abbey. Suspicion grows amongst Katie Maloney, Kristina Kelly, and James Kennedy. Leviss fans the flames herself when she confesses to, innocently, spending the night at Sandoval’s while Madix is out of town — at her grandmother’s funeral might we add.



RELATED: Leave Raquel Leviss Alone — The 'Vanderpump Rules' Star Doesn't Deserve The Hate She's Getting Over The Tom Sandoval Affair

The stage is set but Kent has even doubled down and said claims that producers re-edited the season to highlight the affair are “not true.”


Hollie Bohorquez, one of the hosts of the "Vanderpump Rules Party" podcast told Insider, "I personally feel like they were mapping this out." Her co-host, Sarah Cee speculated that "Production at least knew there was a strong flirtation," before adding. "I think they were trying to milk it."

Cee and Bohorquez also mention, as evidence that the cast knew the scandal would break, an odd interaction they had with newly-return cast member Kristen Doute before the affair became public. When they told Sandoval’s previous ex that they missed her on the show she allegedly told them to “stay tuned.” Doute returned to the show in the season finale when Madix looked to her for advice following her split from the Tom-Tom owner. So, did Doute know she’d be called back to discuss a not-yet-known affair?

Podcasters claim that filming permits suggest the show was scheduled to film long after producers claimed the season had wrapped.

The story Bravo is telling is that, after the affair broke, cameras resumed filming to capture that fallout. But Cee and Bohorquez claim a filming permit found outside one of the cast member’s buildings stated that the permit was in effect until April 2, long after the original wrap date and after the affair became public.


"So before Scandoval even broke, they had the filming permits in place to record with when cameras went back," says Cee.

This, along with the suspicion that some clips were shot after the scandal broke and reinserted earlier in the season — namely a scene in which Kent and Kennedy question Leviss and Sandoval’s friendship — have fans questioning whether the cast and producers have, at the very least, worked overtime to drum up additional drama.

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working because we can’t get enough of the drama — even if it is somewhat ramped up.

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Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest.