Andy Cohen Just Revealed He Almost Canceled This Iconic Show
The Bravo host revealed that he nearly pulled the plug—and almost lost half a million dollars in the process.
Andy Cohen has gone from Bravo executive to household name over the past 15 years, thanks in no small part to his instrumental role in creating The Real Housewives franchise. However, in a new interview with Naomi Campbell on her No Filter With Naomi web series, Cohen revealed that one of the shows in the hugely popular franchise almost never saw the light of day.
"That first season of Orange County, we had tremendous problems in the field… There was a moment in time where we considered killing the show and not actually producing the show," Cohen told Campbell.
The Watch What Happens Live host said that, upon reviewing the footage from the initial season, "nothing made sense" to producers, and they considered cutting their losses. However, after finding out how much money the network would be losing if they took the show off the schedule, Bravo execs quickly changed their tune.
"We figured out that it would cost us $400,000 in losses if we let go of the show," said Cohen. Instead of cutting the cast loose, Cohen explained that his then-boss, NBC Universal EVP Lauren Zalaznick, decided to go full-throttle to produce the series.
"She's like, 'We're doubling down. Let's shoot more, let's bring more people in, let's do this," Cohen explained, a move he credited with launching his on-camera career. "I wouldn't be sitting here talking to Naomi Campbell if The Real Housewives didn't come," said Cohen. "I owe all of my on-camera success to The Real Housewives."
That wasn't the only shocking admission Cohen made to Campbell, however. Read on to find out just how different the show was initially supposed to be—and what franchise Cohen may be bringing back from the dead. And for more from Cohen, check out Andy Cohen Says This Is the Worst Guest He Ever Had on "Watch What Happens."
The show was originally pitched as a comedy.
While the Housewives franchise may be best known for its high drama, that wasn't always the plan.
"At the beginning, it was very much an experiment in Orange County. It was a man named Scott Dunlop who brought us footage of his neighbors and said, 'There's something here,"" Cohen explained. "The original pitch was more like a Curb Your Enthusiasm parody of life in a gated community." And for the latest celebrity news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
RHONY and RHOA originally had completely different concepts, too.
It wasn't just RHOC that changed directions before hitting the air. Cohen revealed that The Real Housewives of New York was initially intended to be a show called Manhattan Moms.
"Because the Orange County Housewives was hitting, that became The Real Housewives of New York City," explained Cohen. RHOA, on the other hand, was initially called The Ladies of Hotlanta before becoming a Housewives show, too.
Cohen says that a beloved Housewives franchise will return soon.
While two stateside Housewives series—Miami and D.C.—have been canceled, Cohen says that the former may soon get another shot. (Seemingly, his interview with Campbell took place before it was announced that The Real Housewives of Miami was coming back, this time to NBC's streaming service, Peacock.)
"We had them, it was canceled, and now we're tinkering around, maybe going to do it again," Cohen explained. "It's a great city, it's very diverse, it's very exciting."
Cohen says his relationship with the cast members has been largely positive.
While the reunion shows can get dramatic, Cohen admitted that he believes that he's on good terms with the majority of the cast members across franchises.
"I like to think that I am. I hope so," the host said. He explained that, when that's not the case, Watch What Happens Live has been helpful in terms of mending fences.
"If they have an issue with something that I've said or something on the show or something on Watch What Happens Live, we get to sit down and have a drink and have a conversation about it and work stuff out." And for more on your favorite stars, check out A Flight Attendant Is Ranking Celebrities Based on How Rude They Are.