‘Vanderpump Rules’ Alums Jax and Brittany Asked to Be on TV Again — So ‘The Valley’ Was Born

For the first eight seasons of Bravo‘s “Vanderpump Rules,” Jax Taylor was the man viewers loved to hate. Between his hot temper, shameless gossiping, and seeming inability to be faithful to any of the women in his life — including Brittany Cartwright, whom he would eventually marry in 2019 after a series of break-ups and reconciliations — Taylor was one of the most compelling cast members on the show right up until he and Cartwright were fired from it in 2020. So when the news broke in early 2024 that Jax and Brittany would be returning to television with their own spinoff series, “The Valley,” expectations among “Vanderpump” fans were high.

So far, “The Valley” has not only met but exceeded those expectations with episodes that are every bit as entertaining and revelatory as those found on the best seasons of “Vanderpump,” even though the milieu might seem less promising. Instead of singles in Hollywood, the series focuses on couples in the San Fernando Valley who all either have or, in the case of another controversial “Vanderpump” alum, Kristin Doute, are hoping to have children. Anyone who thought this meant goodbye to the partying, flirting, and insanely intense arguments of “Vanderpump” would be grossly mistaken — grown-up responsibilities haven’t really made Jax or his friends grow up.

“It was always my contention that we shouldn’t necessarily make it a show about raising children, because I’m not sure that’s the escape the audience wants,” executive producer Alex Baskin told IndieWire when he was a guest on an upcoming episode of the Toolkit podcast. “I think that’s a little too close to home.” The more time Baskin spent around Taylor and his group of friends in the valley, the more he saw how the show could be about something else. “It’s that you grow up, but you don’t have all the answers. These people are in the next phase of their lives, but they’re still figuring everything out. I think that we found a sweet spot where it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to recapture their youth. They’re just trying to figure out where they are now.”

‘The Valley’Casey Durkin/Bravo

The show was born when Jax and Brittany told Baskin that they wanted to be on television again, and Baskin tried to figure out what that would look like. “I said, ‘Well, what’s going on in your life and who are your friends?’” Baskin said. “So we just met with a bunch of people that were really connected to them.” A core group of friends revealed itself that Baskin felt would work without forcing it — a necessity since part of the show’s greatness, as with “Vanderpump,” lies in its organic quality, where the cast members’ lives dictate the trajectory of the series and not the other way around.

“I said to him too, ‘Don’t think like a casting producer,’” Baskin said. “‘Just think who is in your life, who makes sense.’ And there was a group that naturally came together that had a diversity of stories and was genuinely connected. It was like, these are the makings of a show. We have all the ingredients we need.” The result has been a perfect spinoff: a show that retains all the strengths of its source but takes off in new directions. And given recent reports of Jax and Brittany’s separation — something we haven’t seen on the show yet — it seems that the most exciting episodes are still to come.

Look out for IndieWire’s “Toolkit” episode with Alex Baskin on podcast platforms May 1.

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