Andy Cohen: Digital Made the TV Star
Face of Bravo watched his on-air ambitions happen organically alongside online talents
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMB&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars
It's hard to imagine a time when television executives and talent weren’t blogging or tweeting their every thought. But seven years ago, Andy Cohen was one of the first, when he started a blog on BravoTV.com to dish on the behind-thescenes drama of Project Runway.
The blog led to online aftershows for Top Chef and to Cohen hosting the network’s reunion shows and eventually his own latenight talk show, Watch What Happens Live.
Now, Cohen’s on-air and online presence, combined with his dual role as Bravo’s executive VP of development and talent, has made him the face of the cable network more than any Real Housewife.
Cohen had long harbored on-air ambitions, but had given up on them until his blog spawned the launch of WWHL, which began as a Web-only series. “If I started at Bravo and said to my boss, ‘Look, I want a talk show,’ that would have been preposterous,” he says. “But the way it happened was just so organic.”
WWHL’s success led to its expansion to five nights a week last January. The talker takes its live/interactive format seriously, with Cohen soliciting questions for his guests via Facebook and his Twitter feed, which he tweets from frequently for his nearly 800,000 followers.
Though Cohen is constantly looking for ways to make WWHL more interactive, that “would almost mean me coming to your house and doing the show for you in your living room,” he jokes.
Now digital goes hand in hand with everything Bravo does, from cast blogs for all its shows, partnerships with Foursquare, Facebook games and social editions of its programs, like Top Chef’s video series Last Chance Kitchen, where eliminated contestants compete for another chance on the show each week after the broadcast—a direct result of the marriage between digital and TV.
“I’m just so excited we were able to figure out something that allowed people to extend the show to the Web, and then know what was happening on the Web was going to play out on TV,” Cohen says.
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