Bravo’s Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Andy Cohen, has not only become the face of the network, but he has also become the guy viewers have turned to for answers.
So, when we ran into him at NBC’s day at the TCA Press Tour, we had to ask him some of our burning questions on “The Real Housewives” franchise and he was strikingly upfront in his answers.
Viewers became engrossed in last season’s split between former besties, Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel. It was a striking turn of events and a lightning rod for news and ratings for “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Cohen, though, was worried the fans would be turned off by the feud.
“I wondered if people are going to want to see this,” he tells Zap2it. “It seemed very negative and I was worried for the two of them that people wouldn’t want to see them.”
Additionally, Bravo drew some criticism from fans regarding its coverage of Kelly Bensimon‘s breakdown on Ramona Singer‘s “Scary Island” getaway. Then on the reunion show, Kelly accused the network of forcing her to go on the trip. Cohen denied the accusation on the air. “I knew that was not the truth and I felt like I just needed to say it,” he says.
Then, of course, there are the very violent implications of Danielle Staub’s actions on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” This season she has brought on ex-felons for bodyguards and she has made it very clear that she has no qualms about doing what she has to do to “protect herself.” That element seemed to place her cast mates in constant danger of physical harm whenever Danielle had a contentious scene with them. Viewers continued to wonder how far Bravo was willing to go. The Daily Beast ran an article called, “Has ‘Real Housewives’ Gone Too Far?,” which Cohen interviewed for.
When we asked Cohen where Bravo drew to the line, he answered, “We don’t want anyone to get hurt, basically. That’s the bottom line. Basically, everyone’s safety is the most important thing.”
And then, of course, we have Michaele Salahi, who made news last year when she and her husband reportedly crashed President Obama’s first White House state dinner. At the time, the network would not confirm the couple was part of “The Real Housewives of D.C.” Cohen tried to clarify the network’s response.
“We had been shooting Michaele [Salahi] for months beforehand, so the idea that whatever allegedly happened that night at The White House was some kind of audition was completely false,” he says. “Additionally, we shoot on many ‘Housewives’ series with more women then wind up making it in the show. So, when we said, ‘she might not be in the show. She’s one of the people we’ve been shooting with,’ that’s what we meant.”
Take a look at the interview below!
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Video credit: Jethro Nededog, Zap2it