The network executive and “Watch What Happens Live” host discusses Kim Zolciak’s departure from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and the status of Bethenny Frankel’s show
Andy Cohen has definitely made the best of his programming executive level job at Bravo Media. Aside from becoming the face of the network and hosting its popular late night show, “Watch What Happens Live,” he was instrumental in developing and producing the network’s flagship “Real Housewives” franchise.
The same franchise, by the way, that he famously put a fork in when he announced in 2011 that the network wouldn’t be extending the series. But, did he really mean it?
“Well, I mean, I always say ‘never say never,'” Cohen, who’s currently promoting the paperback release of his autobiography, “Most Talkative,” told TheWrap.
“But, I think we’re pretty good and I still do think we are pretty good. I mean, we’ve got six going and it’s great,” the 44-year-old continued.
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And, that’s true. Even if a “Real Housewives” city isn’t bringing in the ratings, it still drives headlines and buzz. Not to mention, the network still mines the series for spinoffs.
As of now, there are four “Real Housewives” spinoffs either airing or in development, which include “Vanderpump Rules” starring Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump, “The Kandi Factory” with Atlanta’s Kandi Burruss, and a newly announced project with Atlanta castmember Phaedra Parks with the working title, “Rich People Problems.”
Plus, former Atlanta castmember Kim Zolciak’s series, “Don’t Be Tardy…” returns for its second season on Tuesday at 9/8c.
TheWrap spoke with Cohen about what the cable channel looks for in “Real Housewives” spinoffs, the status of Bethenny Frankel’s show and how he handles viewer opinion.
TheWrap: What makes for a good “Real Housewives” spinoff?
Andy Cohen: Phaedra does a lot of other things outside of the “Housewives” show. Kandi is a songwriter. Lisa has restaurants. So, these are other things that the women do in their real lives that lend themselves to seeing more of them. I think that the women just living their lives, that’s what they do on the “Housewives.” The shows that we’ve picked up have been because the women have other things going on. Kim’s show started with her getting married, which is really the natural way to, it lends itself well to another series, you know?
Speaking of Kim, was there any anger over her leaving “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”?
Well, no. It was mutual. It was something that we all did together. I mean the natural evolution was it was time for her to go and we figured out how to make it work for everybody.
Did you get any flack from viewers over Bravo’s choice to continue on with her spinoff after the way she departed from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”?
Not really. I think it’s pretty cool. It seemed to happen as it should and it was a great season of Atlanta after she left. So, I think the reunion kind of tied it up really nicely.
What can we expect from Season 2 of “Don’t Be Tardy…”?
Just that it’s really fun and funny and surprising. And then [Zolciak’s husband, Kroy Biermann] takes a much more active role than he has in the past. So, he’s more involved. And the part that’s not funny or fun is the part about, you know what’s going on with Kim and her mom.
Yes, the lawsuit. Their relationship began to crumble on Season 1. Will she make any appearances this season?
No, the mom is not, but the story is covered.
Is Bethenny Frankel’s show dead in the water?
Oh, no, look, she’s got a really full plate right now and I don’t know what she has time for. But, she and I are always talking about working together again and I hope we do. I don’t think it’s out of the question. She’s about to launch this huge other show.
The talk show. Ellen DeGeneres is an executive producer, but, still, have you given Bethenny any hosting advice?
She doesn’t need any of my advice.