Everyone’s got Andy Cohen on the brain! No doubt inspired by our post on how Andy is the poor man’s Ryan Seacrest, The New York Times interviewed Bravo‘s Executive VP of Development and Talent about his transition from behind-the-scenes man to a “Bravolebrity” himself. My favorite quote by far was his snappy response to whether the queer programming he’s pioneered (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, etc.) has changed Bravo as a whole:
Do you think it’s fair when people say Bravo is a gay network?
Bravo is bi. I think Bravo would be open to going home with whomever it wanted to go home with at the end of the night.
That’s incredibly well-put, don’t you think? Andy also addressed his own reality fame, and I was surprised to see that he was rather pragmatic about the whole thing. After all, his particular journey from executive to on-air personality isn’t the norm. Also, I wouldn’t necessarily have called him cross-eyed, but now that he mentions it… It does explain a lot.
You started as an executive at Bravo, but now you host a late-night show and all the channel’s reunion programs. Do you recommend that other young TV execs emulate this career trajectory?
I don’t. What happened to me is such a one-in-a-million thing. I mean, I gave up wanting to be on camera early in my career because I was cursed with these crossed eyes.
I wouldn’t say you’re cross-eyed.
When I was a 21-year-old intern at CBS, I was told I had crossed eyes and shouldn’t try to be on air. That’s when I decided I was going to be behind the scenes.
And of course, they had to ask about Russell Armstrong‘s suicide last fall, especially since in the aftermath critics accused Bravo of exacerbating Russell’s personal and professional issues instead of getting him help.
After Russell Armstrong, a “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” husband, hanged himself between Seasons 1 and 2, Bravo addressed his death in a special episode that received a lot of criticism, and then it went on to show the second season. Do you have regrets about how that was handled?
No. I mean, look, we debated 18,000 ways to handle this. It was tragic. But if anyone in this building or the producers or the production company believed that the show was to blame for what happened, we would not have aired the show no matter what.
They did, however, benefit from the dramatic arc of Russell abusing wife Taylor Armstrong and her subsequent emotional breakdowns. We can’t forget that.