Category: Bravo

'Facts of Life' mini-reunion on 'Watch What Happens Live'

Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields dished on "The Facts of Life" when the two sitcom actresses were reunited on "Watch What Happens Live"
Actresses Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields (better known as Natalie and Tootie from "The Facts of Life") sat down with "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen on Thursday night for a mini "Facts of Life" reunion.

Cohen couldn't help but pepper the two with questions about the sitcom, which ran on NBC from 1979 to 1988.

Which of the actresses was the first to lose her virginity? Cohn, whose character was the first of the Eastland girls to have sex, told Cohen that art really did reflect life. (An admission Cohn said would probably upset her parents, who were watching).

Was there a moment when the actors knew the series had jumped the shark? Cohn admitted to remembering "a few." Including the time, "when Edna's Edibles turned into another frickin' store."

Which actress was the biggest partier? Cohn. (Both Fields and Cohn agreed on that one).

Who did Fields prefer? Charlotte Rae or Cloris Leachman? Fields had to go with Rae, because she was there at the beginning.

Was there anything the girls didn't want to reveal to Cohen? Yes. The gabby Bravo host asked Cohn about the rumor that the actress is godmother to Brad Pitt's and Angelina Jolie's kids. Cohn chose to take the 5th on that one.

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Photo: Andy Cohen, Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields on "Watch What Happens Live." Credit: Bravo

Late Night: Jerry Seinfeld's least favorite 'Seinfeld' episode

 

The most reliably entertaining segment on Bravo's hit-or-miss talk show, "Watch What Happens Live" is "Plead the Fifth," in which host Andy Cohen pries his celebrity guests with invasive and potentially embarrassing questions. No matter what question Cohen asks, the guests are only allowed to pass once. It's an ingeniously simple way to loosen up image-conscious celebrities, and it can occasionally generate some headline-worthy gossip.

On Monday night, Cohen welcomed his friend Jerry Seinfeld to the show. After reminiscing about his first "Tonight Show" appearance and laughing at some terrible "Seinfeld" publicity shots, the comedian submitted to Cohen's interrogation.

Somewhat inevitably, the first question was "How long you personally reigned as master of your domain?" -- a reference, of course, to "The Contest," one of the most famous "Seinfeld" episodes of all time. After some hemming and hawing, Seinfeld finally answered, "A reasonable period of time." Not exactly specific, but Cohen accepted it.

Seinfeld was equally evasive in response to the next question, about which character on the series had the worst breath (his answer: many of the actresses who played his girlfriends had terrible breath because they never ate).

Happily, Seinfeld was more forthcoming with the final question. Asked to identify his least favorite "Seinfeld" episode, he replied, "There was one where a guy had a stroke, and we were feeding him on the couch...I felt very uncomfortable with that episode."

So, Seinfeld doesn't like making jokes about sick elderly people. Sounds like a reasonable and surprisingly humane response, doesn't it? Perhaps not: The episode Seinfeld was referring to, "The Alternate Side," is also the one in which Kramer made a cameo in a Woody Allen movie with the line, "These pretzels are making me thirsty." 

Surely, it wasn't all bad. 

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'Kathy' review: Kathy Griffin finds a new level of reality

Kathy griffin show bravo
The best moment on “Kathy,” Kathy Griffin’s talk show that debuted Thursday on Bravo, came fairly early on when Meredith Morris, one of a trio of non-celebrities joining Griffin to rake over pop culture topics, laughingly suggested that “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion had gotten so over the top  they “don’t really need Andy Cohen.” Griffin, a long-time sweet 'n' steely provocateur with a flinch-resistant face and an oft-stated “no apologies” policy, visibly stiffened, interrupting Morris to laughingly but pointedly explain that this, ha ha, was precisely why she had decided not to book “A-list celebrities” because celebrities would never, ha ha,  say things like,  “They don’t need Andy Cohen ... ” ha ha, because “Yes we do. ... ”

Cohen, of course, is the executive vice president of development and talent at Bravo who has helped oversee the “Real Housewives” franchise and  many other shows, including Griffin’s previous show, “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-list.” He also appears in many episodes of Bravo’s various reality shows and hosts “Watch What Happens: Live,” which was recently expanded to five nights a week, and directly follows “Kathy.”

If, by some chance, you are not one of the 2 million to 3 million Americans who regularly tune into the “Real Housewives,” or the 1.2 million who watch “Watch What Happens: Live,” you might not know this.

But then if you did not know this, you would probably not be watching “Kathy.”

For all her resolute outrageousness, Griffin is a very hard-working entertainer, as multiplatform and multitasking as Ryan Seacrest, a frequent Griffin target. She is also a team player, a team Bravo player. No doubt she is just as addicted to the “Real Housewives” franchise as she claims, and just as nauseated by the Kardashian family (whose show airs on E! which is owned, as Bravo is, by NBCUniversal) but even so, her constant references to the shows, in her various comedy specials and here, clearly crosses the line from cultural reference into shilling. Which Griffin, who is nothing if not frank, admitted in her show’s premiere, prefacing another “Housewives” tangent with “I don’t mean to sound like a Bravo infomercial but....”

But we really do need Andy Cohen.

The beauty of television today is that it has become at once more insular and more universal. Shows with relatively small audiences, be they a reality franchise or “Mad Men,” have disproportionately large cultural footprints -- people are, apparently, happy to talk, hear and read about shows they don’t actually watch.  Griffin, one of the first to realize this, has built something of a career on it, using her addiction to and knowledge of the reality TV world to not only solidify her regular-gal persona (her friend Anderson Cooper lately used his love for the “Real Housewives” in a similar way) but also to stretch out her comedic landscape, which is essentially based on saying what many people think in a way that is often very funny.

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'Shahs of Sunset' gets second season

Shahs of Sunset finale draws big ratingsThe folks of "Shahs of Sunset" have a reason to break out the expensive champagne and all the diamond water in Asa's fridge (rather than unleashing G.G.'s knife collection): Bravo has decided to bring the show back for a second season.

Official word of the renewal comes after one of the show's stars, Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi let it slip that the show would be returning during an appearance Wednesday on a New York news channel.

Not that there was much doubt that the Ryan Seacrest-produced show would return. Though it drew some criticism for its portrayal of Iranian Americans, the show debuted to 1.1 million viewers, besting Bravo veteran "Bethenny Ever After." And its finale, which aired Sunday, was the highest-rated episode of the season with more than 1.5 million viewers (a million of which were in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo).

No word yet on when production would start or whether Reza's mustache would get a pay bump.

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--Yvonne Villarreal

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Photo: "Shahs of Sunset" stars Mercedes "MJ" Javid and Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi. Credit: Bravo

'Millionaire Matchmaker' bachelor turns out to be scam artist

"Millionaire Matchmaker" scam artist
Reality TV rarely reflects reality, but it doesn't usually result in criminal charges. However, a former  bachelor who appeared on the Bravo reality series "The Millionaire Matchmaker" in 2009 is not only not a millionaire, turns out he's also a scam artist.

Michael Anthony Prozer III pleaded guilty in court to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud this week, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. A Maryland banker, Fedor Stanley Salinas, who helped Prozer by faking bank statements to make the fraudster appear wealthy, also pleaded guilty. In addition, Prozer pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a financial institution, according to a U.S. attorney.

Prozer appeared on "Millionaire Matchmaker" as the CEO of Xchangeagent Inc., a Pay Pal system for South America and Europe. He definitely failed to impress his date with his jet ski skills.

But in real life, Prozer was picked up after attempting to defraud a Georgia bank by taking out a short-term business loan backed up with $21 million in collateral that didn't really exist. The scheme lost the bank $3 million.

Prozer's guilty plea came as a shock to observers, according to ABC News, which reports that a jury had already been selected for the upcoming trial. He faces a multiyear sentence in federal prison.

No word on how Patti Stanger, the matchmaking host of "Millionaire Matchmaker," feels about being duped.

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 Photo: Michael Anthony Prozer III on "The Millionaire Matchmaker." Credit: Bravo

Inspired: Kathy Griffin is drawn to the outrageous

Kathy Griffin preps for her new Bravo talk show

As Kathy Griffin gears up for the April 19 premiere of her first talk show, "Kathy," on Bravo (where she launched reality show "My Life on the D-List" and ongoing comedy specials), she talks about her show and hosts she has loved ... and her mother's obsession with this newspaper.

 

KG: I love how you answer your phone as if you’re the freaking switchboard operator! Yvonne, you have to say, "Hello, this is Yvonne. May I help you?”

YV: But I can’t screen my phone calls that way.

Oh. Are you getting a lot of robo calls from the Rick Santorum campaign?

Are you?

Yes, but  I’m an operative for the Rick Santorum campaign. I’m all about the pink bowling balls. I’m sure you’re hearing the latest rumblings about the Santorum drama, right? Isn’t that insane? Here’s the deal. Let’s cut the crap. Did we really doubt that Santorum, behind closed doors, maybe doesn’t bandy around the N-word? Like, come on. If freaking Marlo from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is saying the N-word, there’s not a lot of doubt in my mind that Santorum and that freaking crowd isn't maybe throwing it in at a local picnic now and again. This election year is a bonanza for me.

With stuff like this in the news cycle, are you just super antsy for your show to debut so you can comment on it all?

I could tape it today.  The Bravo people are so nervous and they’re freaking putting caution tape on my mouth in pictures and … and I’m like, "Really? Let’s tape it now … . I’m ready." I’ve got Kim Kardashian. I have Kourtney [Kardashian] being Photoshopped for the bathing suit line. My mom is yelling at me because she wants me to never make fun of a Kardashian again.

Or Bill O’Reilly.

Well, that’s her boyfriend. She calls him her boyfriend. By the way, you should know that my mom just called in sick today so I'm thinking of letting her go. And I told her we were going to get Doris Roberts to take her place. Look, this ain’t “My Life on the D-List” anymore. We run a tight ship. If we have to make some changes, we’ll do what we have to do.

You sound like Kim Zolciak letting Sweetie go. But I guess you want a crew like Bethenny Frankel working for you, right?

My mom is bigger than all the “Housewives” combined. My mother is, once again, mandated — MANDATED — by the network to be in every episode. They don’t even have the good grace to say things like, "You know, Kathy, you’re one of our stars. We think of you as an iconic cornerstone of the network. And if your mom could help you out, that would be great.” No. They’re like, "Hey, so your mom will be on it every week, you know that right? We’re not … around with that.” I’m like, “Yes, yes. Don’t worry.”

Continue reading »

Late Night: Andy Cohen hosts 'Real Housewives' screaming match

 

The Bravo Clubhouse was a whole lot more crowded than usual on Wednesday night when Andy Cohen hosted a "Watch What Happens Live All-Star Party," a veritable orgy of the network's demi-celebrities.

Everyone was there, including marquee names like Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, breakout star Bethenny Frankel, and Bravo B-listers like what's-her-name from "Flipping Out" who looks like Julia Louis-Dreyfus. As Kathy Griffin aptly described the event, "This is like the most messed-up Golden Globes I've ever seen." 

Of course, no Bravo gathering would be complete without plenty of housewives. The "All-Star Party" featured trainwreck musical performances by LuAnn "The Countess"  de Lesseps and Melissa Gorga, but the official lowlight was almost certainly the "Real Housewives Battle Royale." For the quiz game, 18 different housewives were divided into two teams --East Coast versus West Coast -- and asked questions on "their favorite two subjects -- themselves, and each other," as Cohen put it.  Not surprisingly, the contest quickly descended into a Babel-esque cacophony of shrill screams, like a "Housewives" reunion show condensed into four brief but blood-curdling minutes. It was so harrowing that even the usually indefatigable Cohen appeared to lose his patience.

You can watch the "Battle Royale" above, but be warned: You may want to be sure all your crystal is tucked away in a safe place before you press play. 

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Bravo announces 11 new series, and plans for 2 scripted series

Lisa Vanderpump gets Bravo spin-off
Bravo announced Wednesday that it has greenlit 11 new unscripted series--including a "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" spinoff and a look inside Silicon Valley--and is developing two scripted projects. 

Bravo will see a 27% increase in original programming with the addition of the new shows. As for the scripted series, the network plans to premiere its first one in 2013. In attempting its new venture into non-reality fare, the network last month tapped former Alloy Entertainment exec Andrew Wang, who had a hand in managing such hit series as "The Vampire Diaries," "Pretty Little Liars" and "Gossip Girl," to oversee scripted television and development. 

Before the push for series that are admittedly contrived, Bravo will do what it does best: reality TV. It announced the return of eight of its series: "Flipping Out," "Tabatha Takes Over, "Million Dollar Decorators," "Top Chef Masters," “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” “Chef Roblé & Co.” and “Pregnant in Heels." “Inside The Actors Studio” continues its 18th season.

Here's a look at what's in the factory:

Continue reading »

'Shahs of Sunset' star Reza Farahan: It's not National Geographic

Reza Farahan

He dubs himself the Ricky Ricardo of 2012 (aye yai yai!): Reza Farahan is the breakout personality of Bravo's newest reality series, "Shahs of Sunset," thanks to his over-the-top personality and impeccably groomed whiskers.

If he's not hosting Champagne taste-testing parties or shoving intoxicated friends into bathtubs, Farahan is serving as the peacemaker among the women in his posse of friends. The series, which comes from Ryan Seacrest's production company, premiered to just over a million viewers last month and has inched its way up in viewership since then.

In this week's episode, Farahan reunited with his estranged father — which inevitably results in an ugly cry. Show Tracker caught up with Farahan to discuss the reunion, the 'stache, and the criticisms that come with reality TV.

Full disclosure: as I'm talking to you, I have the Twitter page for your mustache open on my computer screen.

Oh my God. That's awesome. My mustache gives you a big shout out.

I think it's hilarious that my mustache has its own page. And then there's the sinister side of me that thinks, 'Well, it's about time.' I mean, if I'm going to be honest, I just have to put that out there.

How long have you had it? Also, just FYI, I'm fully aware this is already the most absurd interview ever.

The mustache is going on two years now. I've been very much a chameleon when it comes to facial hair. I've rocked a goatee, I've rocked a beard. I was just getting really attached to my mustache — we developed a fondness for one another and I felt bad about the possibility of getting rid of him so he just kind of stuck. He and I have formed this lasting bond that seems to be going really strong right now.

He likes to be called Little Reza. He gets pissed if people don't acknowledge that he's part of the tribe.

Given how into your 'stache you seem to be, I have to ask whether you consider yourself an intergalactic Persian priestess — or in your case, priest?

No. I am the king of the world. I'm the ruler of all things. I'm omnipresent. I'm the overseer. The war lord.

What did you make of Asa's diamond water?

Continue reading »

Late Night: Deena says Snooki will be a 'great mom'

Watch What Happens Live

Earlier this week, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, the diminutive star of MTV's "Jersey Shore," confirmed to US Weekly that she and her fiancé/favorite gorilla juicehead, Jionni LaValle, are expecting a child. The announcement ended weeks of speculation but has also raised plenty of other questions: Namely, how will someone famous for spectacular bouts of daytime drunkenness take to parenting?

On Thursday's "Watch What Happens Live," host Andy Cohen asked Snooki's "Jersey Shore" costar and good friend, Deena Cortese, whether she was surprised to hear the big news. 

"I was surprised because that's, like, my little meatball, you know?" Cortese said. "But I'm really happy for her, I really am. And she's going to be a great mom."

Coretese continued, "Even though we all party and stuff, she's very genuine, she's very good-hearted, and I can actually see her as, like, you know, a mother figure." 

Cohen was not convinced. "As 'you know, a mother figure'? OK ..." he responded, barely able to contain his cynicism. 

So who's right, Cohen or Cortese? Could Snooki surprise us all and become a Supermom? Stranger things have happened ... we guess.

Watch the video, which contains some mature themes and language -- it does involve Snooki, after all -- here.

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Photo: Andy Cohen of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live." Credit: Peter Kramer / AP Images for Bravo.

Kathy Griffin's Bravo talk show to premiere in April

Kathy Griffin's talk show will premiere April 19 on Bravo
Kathy Griffin must be getting impatient: Snooki's pregnant (and engaged!) and Angelina Jolie's leg is still walking around. So at long last, Bravo has given the flame-haired comedian talk show an April 19 premiere date.

Griffin, already a staple on the network with numerous comedy specials and her former reality show "My Life on the D-List," will join Andy Cohen in the network's talk show circuit with "Kathy." The weekly pop culture gab-fest will air Thursdays at 10 p.m. And the gossip maven won't discriminate with her ego deflation: celebrities, politicians,  co-workers, friends -- even her scene-stealing mother Maggie -- can expect to get lampooned.

“Look, I've called Academy Award winners a-holes and shown the world my awesome 51-year-old boobs, so I asked myself, what else is there to do,” Griffin said in a statement.  “I'm a true original. A snowflake! Time for a talk show, of course! So I called Bravo and clearly, they wanted to see pop culture get bent over by me, so here we go!  It WILL hurt, America, but in a good way, I promise.  Weeee!!!!”

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Photo: Kathy Griffin arrives at the People's Choice Awards Jan. 11 in Los Angeles. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

'Top Chef: Texas': And the winner is...

Sarah and Paul in "Top Chef: Texas."

And the winner is…the right chef.

When “Top Chef: Texas” lead judge Tom Colicchio remarked that the final showdown between Sarah and Paul was “about as close as it can get,” we were inclined to believe him.

While it may seem a little unfair—especially to Sarah, who not surprisingly couldn’t take her loss gracefully—that either chef had to lose, Paul cooked a dinner whose only apparent error was that his first course couldn’t be served at the right moment, as the judges were switching restaurants. 

Sarah, on the other hand, made a couple of actual culinary blunders that while individually small collectively added up to defeat. Raw beets pickled overnight in the refrigerator seem like a fundamental error of both invention and execution. 

Judge Gail Simmons complained, “What we saw from Paul is what Paul does every day,” suggesting that he didn’t take enough risks, a risible conclusion given that two of his courses were the egg custard dish chawanmushi and the rice porridge dish congee. Yes, that might be within his ethnic range, but one false step, and you have got a plate of curdled eggs and a bowl of unset cement.

We’ve complained a lot this year about how “Top Chef” could have been better, and we're happy that it's finally over, even if the last night's cooking was as superb as the judges kept saying it was. 

Admittedly, it wasn’t the strongest cast, and even the judges in the middle weeks seemed to sense it—the cooking was nearly as lifeless as the chefs’ personalities. When he was crowned the winner, Paul looked about as excited as someone at a soda fountain who discovers there are free refills.

But as with many Quickfire tests, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, and the show’s producers should have come up with better challenges to expose the contestants’ true skills, rather than swamp them with silly gimmicks.

The time pressures have moved from frustrating to ridiculous. Speed is important in horse races and fast-food dining, but hasn’t “Top Chef” heard about the slow food movement? If diners can linger over a meal, why do the people preparing it have to work at the speed of sound? Chefs need to be agile, but the “Top Chef” tests force them to be superhuman. 

There are a number of inspired challenges from past seasons we would have loved to have seen repeated in the just-concluded ninth season.

In season three, the chefs had to take a handful of the simplest ingredients—chicken, potato, onion—and make a dish, which Hung won with butter-poached chicken and Pommes Dauphine. We loved the blind taste test in season five, where chefs had to guess ingredients in a sauce to prove how sophisticated their palates were, with Stefan and Hosea detecting an insane amount of the components in Thai green curry and Mexican mole.  In season seven, the contestants were asked to prepare a meal from exotic ingredients such as yak, crocodile, duck tongue and ostrich, with Kelly’s emu egg omelet beating all the challengers.

These tests were of course a bit impractical, but they weren’t nearly as absurd as what we saw in “Top Chef: Texas,” which included chefs competing in a biathlon to get ingredients.

And one final note. We understand that product placement makes a ton of money for Bravo. But if “Top Chef” goes one step further with its brand-name plugs, it risks becoming the television equivalent of David Foster Wallace’s satirical novel “Infinite Jest,” in which even the years were sponsored.

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Photo: Sarah and Paul in "Top Chef: Texas." Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo.


 



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