Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sources Say Andy Cohen Wants A Little Separation From 'Real Housewives'

Does Andy Cohen want a divorce from his “Real Housewives”?

A source close to the franchise tells us the Bravo executive and “Watch What Happens Live” anchor “has been trying to distance himself from ‘Housewives’ because he wants to be taken seriously as a talk-show host” and because the catfight-causing ladies are too declassé for the high-powered social scene in which he now moves.

“He wants to have his fancy celebrity friends, and the girls don’t fit,” says the insider.

As evidence the source notes that with the exception of Cohen’s BFF, former “Real” housewife of NYC Bethenny Frankel, none of the franchise’s other cast members were invited to the swanky party CNN’s Anderson Cooper threw for the publication of Cohen’s memoir, “Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture,” on Saturday night.

The tony crowd at Cooper’s converted West Village firehouse was heavy on established TV personalities, including Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Ripa, CBS “This Morning” co-host Gayle King and Cooper himself.

Media mogul Barry Diller and superagents Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, of CAA (which reps Cohen), were also there.

Although Cohen tackles the “Real Housewives” franchise in his book, the insider says one aim of the heavily hyped autobiography is to help make Cohen the on-air personality/celebrity he wants to be.

“Andy ultimately wants to compete with Chelsea Handler and Jimmy Fallon,” says the source, who notes that for ratings, Cohen still depends on “Housewives.”

Nielsen data for April and the start of May shows that “Watch What Happens Live” tends to do better when its preceded, or sometimes followed by “Housewives.”

On May 1, for instance, Cohen’s show had 966,000 viewers when it was preceded and followed by “Real Housewives of Orange County.”

The next two nights, “Watch What Happens” had 810,000 and 691,000 viewers, respectively, without the benefit of “Housewives.”

On Wednesday, former “Real Housewives of NYC” cast member Simon Van Kempen tweeted, “Move Over @KellyRipa & @Anderson Cooper,” noting that New Jersey Housewife Melissa Gorga and her husband Joe ’s appearance on “Watch What Happens” Sunday drew 1.7 million viewers while Cooper and Ripa had only 873,000 on Cohen’s show the next night.

A Bravo rep said the idea that Cohen wants separation from the Housewives is “untrue,” and that Bravo “had nothing to do with the private party that Anderson threw for Andy.”

She added that on Monday, “Bravo is throwing a party for Andy in L.A. and every Bravolebrity is invited.”
RELATED: 'Most Talkative': Andy Cohen Dishes On 'Housewives' Success, Failures