‘Vanderpump Rules’ Cheating Scandal Draws Highest-Rated Episode in 3 Years

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The Bravo show’s first episode following the “Scandoval” drama doubled live viewing from the previous week’s episode

tom sandoval raquel leviss cheating vanderpump rules
"Vanderpump Rules" cast members Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss.

As the “Vanderpump Rules” cheating scandal between Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss lit the internet aflame, the first episode of the reality series following the controversy earned the show’s highest viewership in years.

The March 8 episode of “Vanderpump Rules,” the first installment to air since the scandal first broke on March 3, drew the Bravo show’s highest total viewers with 2.2 million viewers and the highest-rated episode among 18-49 demo in nearly three years.

As word of the “Scandoval” spread to bigger audiences on social media, live viewing for the March 8 episode also doubled from the previous week’s episode, which aired March 1. In terms of streaming, the episode also climbed to the third highest Bravo episode to be watched on Peacock the next day among both total viewers and among adults 18-49 through 3 days.

As Lisa Vanderpump addressed the scandal on the March 8 episode of “Watch What Happens Live,” which followed the “Vanderpump Rules” episode on Bravo, “Watch What Happens Live” brought in 593,000 among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen live plus three day figures, marking its highest viewership in almost two and a half years, excluding reunion episodes.

On the streaming front, “Vanderpump Rules” is seeing its highest engagement to date on Peacock as the series currently sits on the list for the platform’s top 10 series.

News of the “Scandoval” first broke on March 3, when TMZ reported that Sandoval was cheating on his longtime girlfriend Ariana Madix with Leviss. The story came as a shock to “Vanderpump Rules” fans, as Sandoval and Madix were one of the show’s steadiest couples, and Leviss has been documented re-entering the dating pool and exploring a relationship with Sandoval’s best friend, Tom Schwartz. That storyline has been playing out on the show during its tenth season, which is now airing on Bravo.

In the appearance on “Watch What Happens Live,” Vanderpump confirmed reports that production had restarted on Season 10 to film the aftermath of the cheating scandal, meaning viewers will get a peek on the cast’s reactions to the news on camera in upcoming episodes.

“I didn’t see it coming, nobody saw it coming,” Vanderpump told Andy Cohen, adding she was “gobsmacked” and “flabbergasted” when she learned of the secret relationship between Sandoval and Leviss that led to the end of his nine-year relationship with Madix.

Andy Cohen also recently said on his Sirius XM show, “Andy Cohen Live,” that current episodes of Season 10 would not be re-edited to address the scandal ahead of time; adding that the episode set to air Wednesday would shock viewers.

“I watched it and I was like, ‘People are going to think we did this, or we moved stuff up, or we somehow …’ The conversations that go on between Katie (Maloney) and Lala (Kent) and Raquel are not to be believed in light of what has come out. But I’m telling y’all the episode was not touched,” Cohen doubled down. “OK. This is how it was going to be shown, which makes it all the more shocking. You won’t believe it.”

Produced by Evolution Media, executive producers for “Vanderpump Rules” include Alex Baskin, Jen McClure-Metz, Joe Kingsley, Jeremiah Smith, Natalie Neurauter, Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd.

A new episode of “Vanderpump Rules,” titled “Divorce Party Crashers,” airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

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