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Posts Tagged ‘Andy Cohen’

Barbara Walters, Harold Ford, Jr. and Bravo’s Chris March

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We could barely keep up with the steady stream of A-listers who poured into Michael’s today. When we arrived a little before noon, there was a handful of power brokers quietly hunkering down to business over their Cobb salads in the back of the room. By the time Bravo’s latest star, designer Chris March arrived with Jennifer Geisser, the network’s senior vice president of communications, and publicist Alana McElroy, there was a palpable party vibe in the dining room.  Late arrival Harold Ford, Jr. worked the room like nobody’s business while social swans Muffie Potter Aston and Suzanne Johnson doled out air kisses like they were candy.

While it was a little hard to hear over the chattering crowd, I thoroughly enjoyed dishing with Chris, whose new show, Mad Fashion, premiered Tuesday night on Bravo. Chris, you might recall was a finalist on Project Runway. (Christian Siriano was the winner that season). His quirky couture and good natured personality ( gotta love that laugh!) made him a fan favorite. Chris tells me when Bravo’s resident boy wonder, Andy Cohen, got wind he was shopping a show around, he got in touch with Chris and insisted Bravo see it first. The deal was done in a matter of days.

Unlike most of those ubiquitous Bravolebrities, Chris isn’t into the fame game. “I didn’t do either show to get famous,” he tells me. “I did it to get to do the type of work I wanted to do.” Things have worked out pretty well on that score. On the Wednesday before the I Heart Radio concert in Las Vegas, Chris got a call from Lady Gaga’s office requesting he make something fabulous for her appearance at the show. In less than a week, he delivered the studded motorcycle cape she wore on stage. “That wouldn’t have happened without being on television.” Maybe, but the guy has definitely got it.  This is the same man who made Meryl Streep‘s last Oscar dress at his kitchen table. His secret weapon: a drama-free attitude when dealing with people who live and die for style.

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Gelman Laughs Off Media Speculation About Regis Replacement

Another good interview get today for TV Guide LA bureau chief Michael Schneider.

With Regis Philbin having made it official now that November 18 will be his last day on Live with Regis and Kelly, the journalist caught up with show producer Michael Gelman to get a sense of how the transition will be handled. So far, coverage of potential Regis replacements has apparently been about as prescient as the manner in which the media handled the end of the Kathie Lee Gifford era:

Despite earlier reports of frontrunners such as Ryan Seacrest, Bravo’s Andy Cohen and Kelly Ripa‘s husband, Mark Consuelos, Gelman says there’s no short list yet. “So much has already been printed, and a lot of it is laughable,” he says. “Just as when we were looking to replace Kathie Lee, everyone was throwing names out there, but no one even had Kelly’s name.”

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Ryan Seacrest Expands Reality TV Empire with Shahs of Sunset

The nice thing about having a major weekday morning syndicated radio show is that you can use it to cross-promote your major network reality TV endeavors.

Such was the case this AM as Andy Cohen of Bravo called in to “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” to expand upon today’s announcement of a new collaboration with the radio host’s production company. Seacrest, having mined Armenian territory for Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is now segueing to privileged LA Iranians for what he hopes will be similar ratings gold with Shahs of Sunset:

“If you live in LA, you know that the Persian-American community is really strong,” said Cohen. “It’s really family oriented. It’s really affluent. This is a really cool, fun, funny group of people you brought to us Ryan, and I’m hoping that this is going to be our next big docu-series, and something that we’re going to be doing for a while!”

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Blake Lively, Charlie Rose And An Ex-Caped Crusader

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— DIANE CLEHANE

I just love it when the random celebrity turns up at Michael’s for lunch. It’s always entertaining to watch the usual suspects try to simultaneously network and star gaze. Today’s out-of-left-field appearances represented both new and old Hollywood (just like this year’s Oscars but without James Franco‘s near comatose involvement). For fans of eighties screen gems like the original Batman and Beetlejuice, there was Michael Keaton. The younger demographic was represented by Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, who, it should be said, is even more beautiful (and taller) in person.

There was plenty of Tinseltown talk at my table, too. I was lunching today with producer Joan Gelman and marketing consultant and political commentator Robert Zimmerman, who is keeping busy with appearances on CNN and Fox News. Joan, who has more than paid her dues in television, had this to say about the Oscars: “You need a heavyweight to carry that show. You need a comedian who can make the audience laugh. It was a horribly produced show.”

Maybe so, but we all agreed that Bravo’s Andy Cohen was way out of line to trash the performance of the school kids from Staten Island who closed out the show by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Appearing on Morning Joe, Cohen told the incredulous hosts that the kids’ performance (which got a standing ovation from the audience) “ruined everything” and that he was so pained by the sight of kids in t-shirts (evidently, he thought they should have dressed up) that he was “looking for a knife to stick in his eyes.”

To that, Robert asked, “The man who is responsible for such high-brow television as The Real Housewives franchise is suddenly the arbiter of good taste and glamour in Hollywood?” Don’t expect an apology anytime soon, either. In the current media climate, said Robert, it’s more than likely Cohen is relishing the attention he’s getting for taking aim at the elementary schoolers. “Creating buzz is more relevant than making sense.” Apparently so.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Hollywood heavyweight Freddie Gershon (Loved the sweater!) with Linda Janklow

2. Spotted: Blake Lively and Vivi Nevo. When this unlikely duo showed up without a reservation, things got a lot more interesting. (One pesky paparazzo seemingly transfixed by the sight of the actress stationed himself outside of the window overlooking the dining room for the entire lunch and refused to move no matter how many times he was asked to leave) We’re more intrigued by Vivi, who, we hear is an Israeli-born venture capitalist and was once engaged to the Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. Could this be the start of another Hollywood romance? Maybe he’s just interested in fashionable folk. After all, the last time we spotted him at Michael’s he was sitting at this very table with Anna Wintour.

3. A trio of social swans: Margo McNabb Nederlander and producers Terry Allen Kramer and Francine LeFrak.

4.  Charlie Rose (who we overheard introducing himself to Michael Keaton) and Universal Pictures CEO Stacey Snider

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Bravo Media Promotes Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Development at Bravo Media. Cohen has been with the company since 2005, and under his previous position as Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development, oversaw such programs as “Top Design,” “Blow Out,” and “Queer Eye.”

Bravo Media’s President, Frances Berwick had this to say about the news:

Under Andy’s leadership and industry expertise, Bravo has enjoyed record ratings and an increase in original programming while attracting the most affluent and educated audience in cable entertainment.

Cohen, in addition to his duties of managing production for over 24 shows, will continue to host his popular “Watch What Happens: Live” weekly talk show.

> MediaBeat (VIDEO): Andy Cohen on Bravo TV’s Sexuality: ‘We’re Bi’

Andy Cohen Answers to Bravo’s Critics, Gets Real about ‘Reality’ TV

Millions of people tune in to Bravo for hits like Top Chef, The Rachel Zoe Project, and Kell on Earth, but one glimpse of the network’s viewer mail shows it’s not all love in these parts.

So, we couldn’t let senior VP of original programming and development Andy Cohen leave our Media Beat studio without answering some tough questions: How real are your reality shows anyway? Why is Atlanta the only Housewives series with women of color? And was Bravo behind that whole Salahi White House crashing fiasco?

Cohen reveals all. Just watch… what happens, of course.

Part 1: Bravo’s Andy Cohen to Reality TV Hopefuls: ‘Good Luck’

Part 2: Andy Cohen on Bravo TV’s Sexuality: ‘We’re Bi’

Media Beat is mediabistro.com’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at MediaBeat.com.

Andy Cohen on Bravo TV’s Sexuality: ‘We’re Bi’

Pop quiz: What was your favorite Bravo TV show in 1995? Okay, 2000. Drawing a blank? Me too. The network synonymous with hit reality shows would have gone down in history for introducing James Lipton’s beard were it not for five guys with a passion for food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a big game changer for Bravo,” said Andy Cohen, senior VP of original programming and development. “That really helped us to define and grow, and we were able to then go in there with so many shows that have wound up being great water cooler, buzzy, big hits for us.”

And, while Bravo is often labeled gay-friendly, Cohen says its focus actually leans more towards the center. “We’re bi. You don’t know who we’re gonna go home with at the end of the night.”

Part 1: Bravo’s Andy Cohen to Reality TV Hopefuls: ‘Good Luck’

Part 3: Andy Cohen Answers to Bravo’s Critics, Gets Real about ‘Reality’ TV

Media Beat is mediabistro.com’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at MediaBeat.com.

Lunch: Hoda Kotb, Dan Abrams & George Stephanopoulos Brave the St. Pat’s Crowds

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The hardcore Michael’s regulars weren’t about to let a little thing like the Saint Patrick’s Day parade get in the way of their power lunch today. After a slow start, the dining room filled up nicely with plenty of media mavens and talking heads. The Today show’s Hoda Kotb was among the first to arrive and looked smashing in her emerald floral sheath by Adrienne Papel. “I’m meeting Dan Abrams, but he’s coming from downtown so I hope he makes it,” said Hoda, having made her way through the few thousand extra people clogging up the sidewalks on the East Side.

With Kathie Lee Gifford on vacation this week, Hoda has been enjoying something of a television time warp with her guest co-hosts. On Monday, she was joined by Beverly Hills 90210‘s resident good guy Jason Priestley, Growing Pains‘s Kirk Cameron came by on Tuesday, and his TV dad Alan Thicke was today’s blast from the past. “Tomorrow, Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid is coming in and Friday it’s Andrew Shue. I’m having a lot of fun.” Turns out Hoda is something of a sitcom aficionado and can easily reel off her TV favorites from days gone by: “I loved Growing Pains, Who’s The Boss, Rhoda, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” We could have talked about iconic TV hits forever, but luckily Dan did make it uptown and lunch went on as planned.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. This year’s “Kelly Gang” contingent: New York Post‘s media man Keith Kelly with a table full of revelers, including Jim Kelly, Tom Kelly, and Kelly Delaney.

2. George Stephanopoulos and David Anton. I caught George on his way to his table to ask who he thought should take his Sunday morning seat. “I don’t know!” he said with a smile and dashed off before I could get in a follow-up.

3. Margo McNabb Nederlander and another stylish blonde gal we didn’t recognize

4. Hoda Kotb and Dan Abrams

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Sue Simmons Admits To Drinking On The Job


Sue Simmons on on LX New York with fellow guest Andy Cohen, discussing her former drinking days

Sue Simmons, the WNBC-4 anchor who gained infamy for using the F-bomb on live television almost two years before Jenny Slate, confessed last week on WNBC’s new show LX New York that in the 80′s it wasn’t unusual for her to show up to work a little bit tipsy. According to Simmons, “…that stopped in the mid ’80s, late ’80s, because I looked in the mirror before — when I was about ready to go on the air — and my eyes were red.”

When the video of Simmons cursing on air surfaced in the spring of 2008, The New York Post was quick to jump on the theory that Simmons might still be boozing behind her desk. The Post culled its interviewees from employees of the restaurants where Simmons frequented before the show, where they remarked (anonymously, of course) that Simmons wasn’t shy about her drinking habits before heading off to work at Channel 4.

That would seem to go against Simmons’ current statement that she hasn’t had a drink before work for years, and unfortunately this belated confession with alleged evidence to the contrary serves to strengthen what was originally just a gossip-based Post piece.

Full video of Simmons’ on-air swearing and apology after the jump. NSFW language, obviously.

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