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Andy Cohen: Digital Made the TV Star

Face of Bravo watched his on-air ambitions happen organically alongside online talents 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

B&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars

Cohen_AndyIt'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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