Reality TV show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" is now wrestling with serious drama after former basketball professional Lamar Odom collapsed at a Nevada brothel and was placed on life support in a Las Vegas hospital.
Odom’s condition has not improved since his hospitalization, and he continues to be on life support, with some reports saying he is brain dead, according to the International Business Times.
Cable channel E! says it is "not currently shooting in Las Vegas" for the show, which returns for its 11th season on Nov. 15. But the network declined to say how it planned to handle what TV watchers acknowledge is a real dilemma involving the estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian and the dash to his bedside of most of the Kardashian clan.
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"They are going to have to deal with it. It's not like they can ignore it. I imagine it will pick up in an aftermath kind of situation," said Mary McNamara, TV critic of the Los Angeles Times.
That poses ethical questions over whether Odom would want to be included in the show at this critical stage, and he is in no condition currently to say so.
"On the one hand, producers should be committed to respecting privacy, and they should be mindful of consent. On the other hand, they should be committed to truthfulness," said Wendy Wyatt, professor of media ethics at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
After the mass coverage of Odom and his bleak prognosis this week, the battle for TV ratings may also come into play. Audiences for "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" have fallen in the past two years. Sunday's season 10 finale was watched by 1.7 million Americans compared to an average of 3.3 million for season nine.
Reuters contibuted to this story.