Gay Iconography: Andy Cohen’s TV Legacy

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If you were to ask folks to name the most powerful people in television today, one name sure to pop up would be Andy Cohen. The openly gay television personality has left an indelible mark on the pop culture landscape behind the cameras, as well as in front.

A savvy producer, Cohen’s name is synonymous with Bravo’s transformation in the early ‘00s from a performing arts-focused network to the home of reality programs, like Project Runway, The Real Housewives and Millionaire Matchmaker. With the addition of his late night talk show, Watch What Happens Live, the dapper host elevated the stars of these programs into “Bravolebrities,” with their own legions of fans alongside his famous friends and guests.

Let’s raise a glass and extend a Mazel to Andy with some of our favorite clips, AFTER THE JUMP


After helping to mastermind the transformation of Bravo into a pop culture hub, audiences got to know Cohen in front of the camera as the ringmaster of Real Housewives reunion specials. It’s not a workplace without its hazards. In the clip above, Real Housewives of New Jersey castmember Teresa Giudice throws Andy aside after being set off by a comment from former cast-mate Danielle Staub.


It’s not always fun and games for Andy. Between the shouting, weave-pulling and tears trickling down Botox-hardened cheeks, occasionally Cohen slips in a few life lessons. Watch him school Joe Giudice on his usage of homophobic slurs above. He’s also spoken out against anti-gay policies in Russia when he refused to host the Miss Universe pageant hosted in Moscow last year.


In 2009, Cohen became the first openly gay host of a late night TV host. His show, Watch What Happens Live, is a breezy, boozy 30-minute gabfest that brings together some of Hollywood’s biggest stars alongside “Bravolebrities.” For better or worse, there’s nothing else like it on television. One of our favorite episodes, above, featured a very tipsy talk with Jackée Harry and Regina King.


Cohen truly has the gift of gab. His enthusiasm and charm enable him to get celebrities to share things they wouldn’t normally share on camera. Check out some highlights from “Plead the Fifth,” a game that asks three questions of a guest and they can only pass on one. It’s just one of the many games Andy likes to play with guests. (Another favorite indulgence was when he made Liam Neeson and Ethan Hawke re-enact a moment from The Real Housewives of New Jersey.)


Cohen’s smirking visage graces more than Bravo programming (and promotional items). He’s co-hosted The View and Live! with Kelly, as well as appearing on Today and Morning Joe. He’s even been the face of God (or a god, at least) in Lady Gaga’s “G.U.Y.” video, above.

Are you an Andy Cohen fan?


  1. bkmn says

    Unfortunately Bravo has all but cancelled their best show “Inside the Actors Studio.” New episodes air at any time slot that hasn’t been filled with that Housewives crap. If I didn’t have a record order set up on my DVR I would probably never see an episode.

    Cohen himself is sometimes enjoyable, sometimes not.

  2. Andy says

    I’m probably the only gay guy who has never seen his show or anything else, other than pictures like this on blogs now and then. I have zero interest.

  3. NOTICE says

    Andy Cohen is AWESOME!!!!!

    An amazing role model for gay people of all ages.

    What is wrong with all the haters on here?

    Andy didn’t just produce all the shows for Bravo (turning it into the “gay” network supreme) he has also done an amazing job of presenting gay people in a positive light in tons of different contexts. And his show is totally entertaining. LOVE HIM!!!

  4. NOTICE says

    I think there is a tendency of people to dismiss him because he primarily deals with pop culture subjects.

    Andy is extremely smart and a very talented journalist. He does a fantastic job of eliciting the best interviews in the industry today. (alcohol doesn’t hurt lol) Something about him is so unassuming and disarming people relax and reveal themselves.

  5. Jerry says

    Andy Cohen is a dirty famewhore who has never been above using his professional position to put himself in front of a camera to further that famewhoring agenda. Really, the only difference between him and Omarosa Stallworth is that he doesn’t have to work as hard to get himself on television, where Omarosa is now obliged to milk the Michael Clark Duncan death to the very dregs for people to remember who she is.

  6. r says

    You have got to be kidding me. These shows are an embarrassment at best, just more springerizatn of american media. Truly shameful. You have lost even more credibility…

  7. JAMES B. says

    I think Andy is pure charm and energy. We need more of that on television. He does deserve praise for giving the public what they want, however, he also deserve the tag associated with producing low-rent product. I’d like to see himself transition into something a bit less camp as his brand evolves. He has solidified his place in the public domain, now it’s time to elevate the product so he doesn’t stick the the schtick of one ring circus master. He’s smarter than that.

  8. John says

    First off HOUSEWIVES and all these trashy shows (that I love btw) won’t be his legacy ladies, this is how he gets his start. He will go on to do more important stuff later that will be his most important legacy, we’ll have to stay tuned to find out what it is. Secondly, I’m in love with him so back off, Andy stop dating models and call me. The end.

  9. Brad says

    He reminds me of those silly high-energy sidekick girls in tween movies, both enjoyable and annoying at the same time.

    Would love to see more masculine gay men in the public’s eye. Not “straight-acting,” just masculine. They are out there, just can’t identify them as the mere mention of Madonna or Britney doesn’t send them into fits of orgasm.

  10. petey says

    Andy Cohen’s legacy is one of harmful stereotypes. The man also appears to be a homosexual gynephile -ie a gay man with an absurd attraction to female bodies and body parts.

  11. Rowan says

    You and I may loathe his existance for all this sh*t guys BUT you can NOT dismiss the fact he is LOVED by many gay men who LOVE his shows.

    It is what it is!

  12. CP says

    Really, you think he’s had a positive effect on culture with that real housewives crap that is growing like mold? And since those crap shows are popular you think therefore he’s someone worth lauding? Eesh. Spend some time looking for good in the world to point to instead of bottom-feeding creeps like him.

  13. petey says

    Andrew Cohen’s shows tend to rate poorly. If they were on free-to-air TV, they would have been taken off the air after the first season.

    Also, does anyone else think that he is slightly cross-eyed?

  14. Glen says

    Jeese – did Andy write this himself? First off I think there are a lot of people at Bravo who can take credit for the slew of reality shows that transformed Bravo, not just Cohen. The Real Housewives franchise was not masterminded by Cohen. Frances Bernwick was the force behind the first Housewives show, the OC. The first season was shot cheaply and moderately successful. It was Frances who decided to put money into the show for season two and a franchise was born. Cohen hosted the second reunion of the OC called Watch what happens, the OC reunion. He was picked for the simple reason that it was cheap to use a Bravo employee and he had some experience having come from CBS this morning as a producer. WWHL was pitched and conceived as a half hour live after show to talk about what happened on the Housewives show. This lead to Cohen becoming the defacto face of Bravo. Credit where credit is due, he charisma and like-ability turned WWHL into more than just a post housewives show…but saying he is one of the most powerful people in TV? That is a stretch.

  15. Rufus says

    Andy and his work are an embarrassment to anybody with a brain or taste. It is no accomplishment to take a performing arts channel and turn it into trash that features gay stereotypes and screeching alcoholic women. Whenever Bravo is on I leave the room. I’d rather read or take a dump. Sometimes both.

  16. pt says

    You got this one wrong. Cohen and Jerry Springer have a lot in common and neither have bettered our society. And his family already had money to begin with, so unlike Jerry Springer, Cohen can’t even claim to be self-made.

    An entertaining and successful rich guy, yes. An icon? Hardly.

  17. Profe Sancho Panza says

    “The openly gay television personality has left an indelible mark on the pop culture landscape behind the cameras, as well as in front.”

    You’re assuming that leaving an indelible mark is automatically praiseworthy. It’s not. Especially in Cohen’s case. The man peddles mind-numbing, IQ-draining, tenth-rate trash.

  18. Voet says

    Unfortunately most “reality” shows devolve into ever increasing animus and drivel. It is the trash talk and hair pulling that draw the audience. The women of the “real housewives” franchise are narcissistic shopaholics who care not one whit for anyone but themselves. It amazes me that anyone still watches these shows.

  19. Glen says

    LIke what Bravo does or not, “reality” on Bravo is a money maker. Housewives is a 500 million dollar franchise. Bravo more than any other network, except maybe Logo, has done a lot to bring gay people to the forefront. Queer Eye for the Straight guy, Project Runway, even the disastrous Boy meets Boy did a lot to mainstream gays as “normal” people, working, striving for success and looking for love. How much Cohen was a part of that? I don’t know, but if he was then kudos to him. For giving us Jeff Lewis alone, he deserves a mention. There is no denying WWHL is a fun show and at times overly self indulgent. There are truly cringe worthy moments (like having Lizzy Caplin on and ONLY talking about Mean Girls, realizing Andy was almost 40 when it came out…) but over all the show is fun. Now that he is no longer an exec at Bravo and has started his own production company it will be interesting too see what truly comes out from him,

  20. HOCKEYJOCK says

    What the hell…? Did Andy Cohen pay Towleroad to write this…? I don’t think a ton of crap shows is a legacy…why is it time to ‘celebrate’ him, lol? And I actually find him pretty annoying and a cliché famewhore.

    Weird, Towleroad, weird.

  21. D.B. says

    Sorry, I don’t admire Andy Cohen. He has made a career of being the ringleader to an embarrassing circus of women being awful to other women. I don’t find that entertaining, and I am constantly shocked that others don’t feel the same.

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