Andy Cohen on Real Housewives, Watch What Happens Live, Debra Winger – The Hollywood Reporter

Bravo is, in some ways, the home that Andy Cohen constructed. Though it’s been almost a decade for the reason that onetime improvement staffer was among the many cable community’s government ranks, his hand (and, very often, his face) could be seen throughout its schedule. Between the Real Housewives franchise — the tally is as much as 10 reveals, every title counting him as an government producer — and nightly gabfest Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, his is an unmatched piece of the Bravo pie.

With a chat present, SiriusXM channel Radio Andy and e-book imprint, the 53-year-old might simply commit his complete profession to navigating his personal movie star. But Cohen, who’s additionally elevating a son, now 3, is likely to be saved most busy because the steward of his profitable actuality TV subgenre — and the usually difficult ladies who populate it. “I have this little postcard on my desk at home, and it has all of the Real Housewives cities on it,” says Cohen, who put the primary installment (Orange County) on the air in 2006. “I see that as 10 planes we have in the air. You just have to make sure those planes stay at 40,000 feet.”

Speaking on the cellphone from his Manhattan residence in mid-April, Cohen, THR’s Unscripted TV Player of the Year, opened up about retaining these planes aloft amid scandal (together with a go well with from former Housewife NeNe Leakes that was filed after the interview passed off). He additionally described what snapped him out of a office funk and indulged in a fast spherical of a WWHL staple: “Plead the Fifth.”

Is in the present day a typical day for you? And what does it appear to be?

Yes, you may name it organized chaos. I used to be up with [my son] Ben at 7 a.m. and had two hours with him earlier than I needed to do any work. Then, I did radio for the remainder of the morning. I’m about to observe three potential intros for The Real Housewives of Atlanta‘s new show open and a new cut of The Real Housewives of Dubai. I’m going to work out. I’ll watch some castings. And, clearly, Watch What Happens Live is 5 days every week — so there are all these inventive emails that I would like to reply to earlier than the present.

You’re at 10 Real Housewives reveals now. Do you are worried about oversaturation?

We anxious about it far more up to now. When we determined to place two on every week, we have been all like, “Oh my God, is this too much?” Any potential tipping level would’ve already occurred. I nonetheless get up each morning to individuals demanding the following trailer for no matter Housewives present is subsequent on deck.

And with the pandemic and the financial downturn, there’s no concern about opulence fatigue?

These reveals have at all times been voyeuristic concerning the different half. It’s a part of the spine of the franchise. And I believe it makes it enjoyable to observe. You see that with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — which has, in a bizarre manner, emerged because the crown jewel in recent times. People love watching how these wealthy ladies stay.

Loads of these ladies appear to think about you an actual buddy. Do you are feeling the identical — and does that ever get awkward since you are additionally their boss?

It’s an uncommon dynamic. The ones that I’ve been with the longest are those that I’ve the deepest relationships with. Orange County began 16 years in the past. It’s wild to me, the period of time that I’ve identified Luann de Lesseps, Teresa Giudice and Kandi Burruss. Those are people who I contemplate colleagues. I’ve nice respect for them — however sure, there may be that odd relationship. I believe it’s gotten a bit of simpler, although. I used to fairly actually be accountable for programming at Bravo.

No longer being a go well with should assist.

I attempt to be a useful go-between between them and the community, within the case of contract disputes or issues like that. I attempt to use my data of what they’re going via and the way the community feels to attempt to allay the scenario and make it higher. But there I’m on Watch What Happens Live each night time, typically being extremely shady. That’s one thing that they need to deal with as properly.

There has been a variety of manufacturing drama on the Real Housewives entrance, together with blowing up the NYC franchise for a reboot and shuffling longtime castmembers to a derivative. How does that look?

We’re casting the brand new model proper now. There’s not a lot I can inform you besides that the response has been nice.

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From left: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars Sutton Stracke, Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna.
Courtesy of Kathy Boos/Bravo

Where does that go away the ladies you’re contemplating for a Legacy spinoff?

They’re all sort of standing by to search out out marching orders. I believe we wish to solid the brand new RHONY earlier than we do the rest.

And on the Salt Lake City model, Jennie Nguyen was fired for a collection of social media posts mocking the Black Lives Matter motion. How does that inform casting throughout actuality TV shifting ahead?

Listen, I believe the road is at all times shifting. It’s a difficult time within the universe to create an enormous unscripted watercooler present the place persons are typically celebrated for his or her polarizing opinions or shocking factors of view. In phrases of casting, attempting to get essentially the most actual image of who somebody is earlier than you set them on TV has grow to be extra essential than it ever was. This is all a piece in progress. You take heed to your viewers about what they’ll and won’t settle for — or rejoice — of their Housewives.

I assume the viewers lets you realize on social media.

It’s all social media. How far we’ve come. I keep in mind Vicki Gunvalson not understanding that I couldn’t police the web for her initially of Orange County. She would ship me weblog posts and say, “How can you allow this to happen?” I’m like, “I have nothing to do with it! This is the internet!” Twitter allowed the viewers to impress and have a voice in a manner that they by no means did.

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Former New York Housewives stars Sonja Morgan (left) and Ramona Singer might return for a derivative.
Courtesy of Heidi Gutman/Bravo

What’s a present that you simply’re shocked didn’t work?

The first present that I ever produced for Bravo was a reboot of Battle of the Network Stars, however the conceit was that they have been all actuality stars. It was individuals from American Idol, Survivor, possibly a pair from Project Runway. Omarosa [Manigault] was a sideline reporter. Richard Hatch competed, so did some ladies from that cosmetic surgery present, The Swan, on Fox. And it was simply an enormous bomb. The Bravo viewers didn’t need that on any degree. If that had been on E! or VH1, it might’ve been a giant hit.

Or, in the present day, possibly Bravo.

Well, we’re seeing that with The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip. People like it. I used to be anxious that it might be a shark-jumpy factor as a result of we’d be breaking the fourth wall in each route. We at all times tried to keep away from acknowledging that these ladies are on a present. We needed them to be housewives. But, 16 years later, you possibly can’t try this anymore. The actuality is that they’re all on a present, and so they know one another.

Your cope with Watch What Happens Live runs via subsequent 12 months. Looking forward, how lengthy do you assume you wish to do the present?

I’ll do it so long as they’ll let me. I like it. I hit a wall in 12 months 5, after I was sort of checking packing containers for a minute. But I’m simply feeling a lot power and pleasure for it proper now. It feels contemporary now that we’re again stay with studio audiences and doing stay polling. We began a shotski siren the opposite night time. It took us 13 years to determine we should always have a siren for when it’s time for a shotski.

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Andy Cohen with latest Watch What Happens Live visitors Molly Shannon and Craig Robinson.
Courtesy of Charles Sykes/Bravo

When you hit that wall in 12 months 5, how did you course-correct?

Bravo does analysis on each present. And there was a ballot or report the place one thing like 3 or 5 % of individuals stated, “Andy seems kind of over it.” When I noticed that in print, my coronary heart sank. I used to be so embarrassed. This is my absolute dream job. How dare I? That was all it took. It’s humorous as a result of I’ve had lengthy conversations with different speak present hosts which have all been doing this for over a decade, and all of them recognized sure factors of their run the place they felt that.

Who’s in your speak present hosts internal circle?

My staff that I’m going to for recommendation is Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper. Those are people who I commiserate with about numerous issues.

Speaking of Anderson, you’re employed collectively loads — touring collectively and on CNN’s New Year’s Eve protection — however you could have very totally different day jobs. How acutely aware are you about what’s in good humor when he may very well be, say, going to cowl Ukraine?

I do know the strains I can’t cross, and he’s fairly beneficiant about letting me cross them after I do. But when there’s a warfare in Ukraine happening, or we’re on the peak of COVID, I’m not going to be joking round with him on my social media about silly shit. I’ve a good sense of what I’m coping with with him, however my directive on New Year’s Eve has at all times been to have enjoyable. And Anderson desires us to have enjoyable, too. But I typically go into a bit of spiral the following day and I invariably wind up calling him and asking, “Was that OK?”

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Cohen and pal Anderson Cooper co-hosted their fifth New Year’s Eve collectively for CNN in December.
Courtesy of @Bravoandy/Instagram

That’s a standard response for lots of people the day after a celebration.

When the social gathering is broadcast in all places, it turns into a bit of scary!

Speaking of potential line-crossing, I did get a kick out of your boozy diatribe towards Bill de Blasio this 12 months. What are your ideas on New York’s new mayor, Eric Adams?

I wish to give him an opportunity as a result of town has seen higher days. And he’s solely been in workplace for 4 months. De Blasio … simply seeing him dance there in Times Square was a bit of triggering. I used to be like, “This is not a time for you to be dancing, Mr. Mayor!”

Before I allow you to go, let’s play a fast “Plead the Fifth.” Name a previous Watch What Happens visitor who’ll by no means conform to be on the present once more.

Debra Winger didn’t appear to be my largest fan after she did the present. Go again and watch that “Plead the Fifth.”

If you may convey one former Housewife again into the fold tomorrow, who would it not be?

This gained’t occur as a result of she’s dwelling a very totally different life in Australia as a therapist, however it might be Alex McCord for RHONY: Legacy.

Which Housewife who has your cell quantity do you display screen essentially the most?

I’d solely display screen a Housewife name if I’m doing one thing else. Ultimately, in the event that they’re calling me, they should communicate with me, and I’m going to want to talk with them.

No one abuses the direct line?

I wouldn’t say that!

Interview edited for size and readability.

This story first appeared within the April 27 problem of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click right here to subscribe.

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