What would reality TV be without its stars' on-screen mental breakdowns? The Oxygen cable television network may soon find out. The network has implemented a rule requiring the cast of its forthcoming reality show "Taking New York" to undergo therapy before and during shooting.
“After all the recent tragedies on various reality shows, including a suicide, all five cast members were called and given the name of a shrink that Oxygen is paying for,” a show insider told me. “They said that this was a new company rule that, moving forward, everyone on a reality show must be provided with mental health assistance because of everything that’s gone wrong in the past.”
Oxygen's parent company, NBC Universal, also owns Bravo, but I'm told that the home of the "Real Housewives" franchise has not mandated therapists.
“We do the same screening that every network does and that we did prior to Russell’s suicide,” a Bravo insider tells me, referring to the August hanging of Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong. “We do background checks and evaluations, that is not new. We do not have a new company policy to provide therapists while shooting a show.”
In the past, shows like "The Real World" have had mental health professionals on staff, but the new policy for Oxygen and the "Taking New York" cast goes one step further.
“They were told that when filming starts on May 12th it could be a very stressful time, having cameras following them around," the "Taking New York" insider said. "And although the show's stars, Marianne Garvey, Raina Seitel and Leigh Rossini have all worked in the media for many years in New York, this experience will be totally new and uncomfortable.”
Better safe than sorry. Now if only the therapist could help each young woman understand why theyd want to be a reality star in the first place!