F. Scott Schafer/Bravo
May 31, 2017
In The Mix

Bard at Work

Between TV, radio and publishing, Andy Cohen is rewriting the rules of success.

Bruce Fretts

Forget Howard Stern. Andy Cohen is the new king of all media.

With numerous Bravo series — including the late-night talkfest Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, which he hosts and executive-produces — as well as Fox’s upcoming Love Connection reboot, which he hosts and coexec-produces, he curates a Sirius XM radio channel (Radio Andy), has his own book-publishing imprint and tours live with pal Anderson Cooper (AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen).

It’s surprising that Cohen, also a New York Times best-selling author, ever gets a chance to sleep. Somehow, he found time in his busy schedule to chat with emmy contributor Bruce Fretts.

Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen is still going strong. You’ve moved into a bigger space with a larger audience — how has that affected the show?

It’s energized us. It’s funny that we’re talking about moving from a Tic Tac to a studio apartment. It’s just big enough. What we’ve established over almost eight years on the air is that this little clubhouse means something to our viewers, so we didn’t want to mess with the authenticity and the relationship that we already had with the viewers. The intimacy of the show is one of the things that sets it apart from all the other late-night shows.

What makes a good guest?

Someone willing to go along for the ride. Not only indulge my irritating, nosy questions, but be willing to have fun and go there. They’ve seen the show and know that they need to play along. They know that I’m there to ultimately celebrate them, not to trap them. I want to have fun with them.

Any big surprises among the guests?

Usually, I’m pleasantly surprised. Actually, Charlie Sheen was on for the first time a few  weeks ago. I was a little nervous, because I had a lot of personal, shady questions for him. I was  thinking, I hope he doesn’t think this is like all the other late-night shows. I walked in and could tell he was ready to go.

Any guests on your wish list you haven’t gotten yet?

I’ve always wanted Michelle Obama. Maybe with her book coming out next year, that’s on the  horizon. We’ve had so many great turning points in the show’s eight-year run. Meryl Streep did  the show. That opened up a lot of movie studios to booking casts on the show.

How has late night changed since you started? 

There’s a lot more attention to what’s going on in late night right now. It’s an exciting time. What’s cool for us is, we’re still the one live show in late night, which we love. We love that flexibility and uniqueness.

There’s a lot of talk about political humor. Where does your show fall on the spectrum of  being more or less political?

Because we’re live — if it’s appropriate — we talk to our guests about what happened that day. If something happens at night, we can get it on the air immediately. That picture of Kellyanne Conway [kneeling] on the couch [in the Oval Office] went viral the following day. We were able to crack jokes about it that night, because it came out after the other shows had taped. That’s fun for us.

What interested you about re-making Love Connection?

Well, it’s the perfect format. Don’t we love prying into people’s personal lives? There will definitely be more diversity. I loved the original show. I used to watch it with my parents all the time.

How did you end up doing live shows with Anderson Cooper?

We just have so much fun together! That’s a side project, for someone who maybe doesn’t need a side project. We hit the road and we share stories and make people laugh.

You have a great affinity for each other.

We’ve got great chemistry. We’re kind of high and low — pop culture meets news. We somehow meet in the middle.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 5, 2017

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