UPDATED: Andy Cohen has been walking that delicate line between being a top Bravo executive and one of the network’s most recognizable personalities. He won’t walk it anymore. Cohen is stepping down from his post as head of development for Bravo Media. He is launching a production company, Most Talkative, which has signed a multi-year first-look deal with Bravo, the network’s first pact of this kind. The pact, which starts at the beginning of 2014, allows Cohen to develop and pitch projects to all NBCUniversal networks, broadcast and cable. Additionally, his Bravo late-night talk show Watch What Happens Live has been renewed for two more years. He also will continue to host Bravo’s reunions and specials and serve as executive producer on The Real Housewives franchise. “Andy has influenced the course and the shape of Bravo tremendously over the past 10 years as a production and development executive, and as creator and host of our flagship late night show, becoming the face of the network,” said Frances Berwick, President of Bravo and Oxygen Media. With Cohen’s departure from his executive duties, VP Development Lara Spotts will assume the role as head of Bravo’s development team, reporting to Berwick. Cohen will carry on with his executive duties for the next couple of months, helping Spotts transition into the job. Cohen started at Bravo in 2004 as VP of Original Programming & Development and was upped to SVP …
Bravo’s Andy Cohen To Step Down As Executive And Become A Producer, ‘Watch What Happens Live’ Renewed For 2 Seasons
Oprah did well by Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live when she made her first visit to the show Thursday night – but she’s no Orange County housewife. An average of 969,000 viewers watched Oprah visit Andy Cohen’s program as part of her march across the talk-show landscape, plugging her new film, Lee Daniel’s The Butler. That’s one of WWHL’s bigger crowds. But it’s no match for the 1.213 million who tuned in on July 29th, the 1.18 million who came on Aug. 5, or the 1.006 million on Aug. 12. On each of those nights, one or both of Cohen’s guests was a cast member of Bravo’s flagship reality series, Real Housewives of Orange County.
While maybe no match for a scenery-chewing Orange County housewife, Oprah is formidable at the weekend boxoffice, reports Deadline’s Nikki Finke, who notes that based on early trends, The Butler is looking to be the biggest grossing film for the weekend, with 72% of Fandango’s surveyed The Butler ticket-buyers saying Winfrey’s involvement increased their interest in the film.
During her WWHL visit, Cohen asked O whether her new film role was tougher than the one she’d played in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. “There’s no comparison. That was almost 27 years ago … and at the time nobody knew who I was. It was easier to be on screen. Nobody was saying, ‘Gee, that’s Oprah.’ This was harder this time for me, because I’ve worked 25 years …
UPDATE FRIDAY 2 AM: Oprah is all about carefully controlling her image at all times. But not this week when she made the media rounds to promote her return to the big screen in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. During the process she made several public revelations about OWN that could complicate Discovery chief David Zaslav’s current spin campaign that her cable channel is no longer a disaster. First, Oprah told People Magazine that last summer she suffered “the symptoms of a nervous breakdown” and reached her “breaking point” because her Oprah Winfrey Network was struggling very publicly. Tonight, she told host Andy Cohen on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live that her biggest personal ‘aha’ moment would have to be last year when she was “getting all the schadenfreude from the media cause OWN wasn’t where I wanted it to be at the time.”
Zaslav’s joint venture with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Inc, OWN had a wobbly 2011 start and weathered more problems in 2012 even though Discovery advanced it hundreds of millions of dollars. (Exactly $509M total as of June 30th of this year and, while Discovery isn’t required to lend any more, it might do so if needed, according to Zaslav.) Oprah told People magazine she had a meltdown last summer because “people were counting me out… After 25 years of being No. 1, I had become accustomed to success. I didn’t expect failure. I was tested …
Bravo is expanding the presence of its ubiquitous star Kathy Griffin with Kathy, a one-hour weekly talk show hosted by the star of the network’s Emmy-winning reality series My Life On The D List. It will premiere this spring. Additionally, Bravo has picked up two more Griffin comedy comedy specials for 2012, bringing the number of specials the comedian has done on the network to 15. Kathy is designed to reflect Griffin’s thoughts on everything pop culture as she rants on the week’s biggest headlines and tabloid gossip as well as feature stand-up routines, celebrity interviews and taped segments. It joins Bravo’s Andy Cohen late-night talk show Watch What Happens: Live, which expands to five nights a week starting tomorrow night. Cohen today announced that Sandra Bernhard will provide a “weekly rant” on pop culture on the show. “Her take, if you follow her on Twitter is always so smart and funny, ” he said. “That’s just what she’s going to be doing.”
During its portion of the winter TCA press tour, Bravo also announced renewals of Pregnant In Heels for Season 2, The Millionaire Matchmaker for Season 6 and Million Dollar Listing LA for Season 5 as well as Curtis Stone and Cat Cora as hosts of its upcoming culinary series Around The World in 80 Plates. Bravo, which posted ratings gains for a sixth consecutive year in 2011, said it will increase the network’s original programming by an additional 25% in 2012. Here is a list of the network’s upcoming series for this year, including the Ryan Seacrest-produced Shahs of Sunset:
Bravo will strip its semiweekly interactive talk show Watch What Happens: Live five nights a week starting Jan. 8. Hosted by Bravo executive Andy Cohen, the sixth season of the show, which started off as blog that spawned a Web series before migrating to TV as a weekly series, will air live every Sunday through Thursday. It will be the only nightly late-night TV show to air live. As part of the transition, Cohen will keep his EVP title at the network but will shift executive responsibilities. Currently EVP of original programming and development, Cohen will now serve as EVP of development and talent, focusing on creating new original content. He will continue in his role as executive producer on Top Chef and the Real Housewives franchise. Meanwhile, longtime Bravo executive Jerry Leo has been upped to EVP, Program Strategy and Production. Leo, most recently SVP, Program Strategy and Acquisitions, will expand his duties to include the current Bravo slate of originals.