Andy Cohen: a Q & A with the Bravo honcho

Out TV executive, host and author Andy Cohen, best known for his work on the Bravo network, came through town recently to do a speaking engagement at the Borgata, and PGN got a chance to pick his brain. Watch … er … read what happened.

PGN: Besides yourself, who has the most power and influence at Bravo — Kathy Griffin, Rachel Zoe, Tabatha Coffey or the Real Housewives? AC: Well, let’s just say Tabatha because she is so fierce!

PGN: Having spent a lot of time working in television production early in your career, was there anything you didn’t expect when you made the jump to being an on-air personality? AC: I didn’t expect it to be as exhausting as it is, but that may be because I’m live at 11.

PGN: Who have been some of your favorite guests on your show? AC: It changes every night. I literally fall in love with whomever is in the chair. PGN: What do you enjoy more, being in front of the cameras or being the power behind the scenes? AC: They go hand-in-hand for me so it’s hard to pick a side. I’ve been a producer for 23 years so it’s in my DNA.

PGN: Do you think sexuality is still a big obstacle in the careers of TV personalities? AC: I do for people who are playing leading hetero men, but otherwise it seems less and less an issue.

PGN: How do you think Bravo compares to other networks when it comes to the visibility of and opportunities given to LGBT individuals? AC: I think we are leaders and have been for years in putting LGBT folks in front of the camera, not because of their sexuality but because they’re good at something (chefs, stylists, designers, interior gurus, etc.).

PGN: Have you ever had a Bravo television personality that you looked at and thought, Oh damn! I have created a monster. AC: Yup! PGN: Do you keep track of all the personalities that have been able to use their appearances on Bravo TV shows to springboard themselves into success elsewhere? And if so, how do you feel about their success? AC: I am thrilled about it. Look how well Teresa [of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”] has done with her cookbooks. And the list goes on and on!

PGN: Do you feel slighted when other networks seem to copy popular Bravo TV shows? AC: It’s a compliment I guess …

PGN: What Bravo TV shows/projects are you most proud of and which shows are you least proud of? AC: Too many to list but “Top Chef,” the “Housewives” and “Flipping Out” are up on top. I have been responsible for many bombs on Bravo, and we always study them to see why they didn’t work and what we can learn from our failures.

PGN: What is the most outrageous or ridiculous show you have ever been pitched and/or turned down? AC: Something with Madame the puppet from “Hollywood Squares.” PGN: Is the “Real Housewives” phenomenon ever going to end? AC: I hope not. We try to keep the show fresh by updating the cast, and I think we’ve been pretty successful at that so far. These women’s lives are interesting and unscripted and I keep wanting more, personally.

PGN: Besides “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” do any of the other housewives ever hang out with people of color that aren’t their employees or servants? AC: Absolutely!

PGN: Would you ever greenlight a “Real Housewives of Philadelphia” TV show? AC: I hear the Main Line is incredible, but right now we’re great with what we have.

PGN: Would you ever let Patti Stanger of “Millionaire Matchmaker” set you up on a date? AC: Yes, but not on camera.

PGN: What are some of your favorite TV shows right now? AC: “Mad Men,” “Downton Abbey” and I’m about to finish “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix and it’s the best series ever.