Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Real Housewives of D.C. Mary Amons, Lynda Erkiletian, Stacie Turner and Catherine Ommanney Reunite With Andy Cohen
The Real Housewives of D.C. — minus Michaele Salahi or any made-for-TV meltdowns — reunited Friday thanks to one man: Andy Cohen.

The Bravo network executive behind the “Housewives” franchises and other guilty pleasures has become a pop culture phenom himself; in something like the Dick Cheney veep search, Cohen cast himself as the network’s nightly talk-show host and on-air pundit of his own programs.

Which made him the star attraction of Bethesda Row’s three-day fashion event last weekend. The line of fans Friday night stretched around the block, clutching copies of his new memoir, “Most Talkative”; groupies gave him custom t-shirts, flowers and even original artwork. “It’s mazel mayhem!” proclaimed Lynn Blitzer, who sat with husband Wolf and Cohen during the runway show.

Also in the front row: Four of D.C.’s erstwhile Housewives — Mary Amons, Stacie Turner, Lynda Erkiletian and Catherine Ommanney — who said they showed up out of affection for Cohen.

“Oh, we love Andy,” Amons told us. “He’s a really likeable guy. He’s very smart, and he knows how smart we are as a group. I think he really appreciates that.”

“And what he’s done with the network and how he’s extending himself is exactly what we’re looking to do,” said Turner.

No hard feelings, in other words — despite the fact Cohen canceled their show after one season. Forget that playful exterior, he’s first and foremost a shrewd TV programmer. What happen, Andy — was Washington just too boring for your fans?

“Every reporter in D.C. says to me, ‘Why is D.C. bad for reality shows?’ And it’s not,” he claimed. The local version was one of the most successful first seasons for the network; he believes it was derailed by the Salahis’ White House State Dinner crash.

“It hurt it because it sucked up all the attention about the show,” he said. Plus, the Miami and Beverly Hills franchises were launching and there were concerns about “Housewives” overkill. No regrets: “We set out to do a show about proximity to power, about race in a city with its first black president.” They got some provocative discussions about race, he said, and “we certainly got the story of what people will do for proximity to power.”

What about the ’Wives — would they do it all over again? None of them got rich off the show; and all four stars married at the time of production have since split from their husbands.

“Absolutely!” said Amons. “It was just a great opportunity for me to get into the entertainment business that I’ve loved and longed for for so long.”

Turner hesitated for a moment. “I think so,” she said. “I’m not sure.”