Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture
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The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show
From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo's reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie's Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that everyone didn't know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.
The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today's celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.
as the heir apparent to Dan Rather dissipated when I realized that an internship at a network, even in the worst unit on the worst-rated morning show, beat all hell out of a summer internship at KSDK in St. Louis. Turns out we booked names as big as anybody. Henry Kissinger came on to do the weather that year! And even better, Erin Moriarty, the reporter I’d been assigned to work with, was a real journalist, not a Barbie doll with a teleprompter. She researched stories herself, spent hours on the
Despite my vow to be true to who I was, at that point in my life, there was no way I was going to speak up and say something to these people, who were my superiors. It was a crushing moment. But internships are a time to learn, and some lessons are way harder than how to collate scripts. Vito Russo died the following year. * * * Despite my initial doubts, I immersed myself in the consumer gig, and the more I got into the groove, the more responsibilities were entrusted to me. One afternoon, I
pants more than I was supposed to. Giggy—I’ll explain when I tell you about the Housewives. * * * Guess who’s taking my picture? WILL YOU BE MY DADDY? I sometimes wonder if Oklahoma City precipitated a shift in the nature of American news; as our world became more somber—and scary—the news got lighter. Fluffier. More vapid. Over time, Paris the city would become less newsworthy than Paris the Hilton. You probably think I, of all people, snorted up this change like a line of fine
Andrew!” she said. “What are you doing with yourself?” she asked. When I told her I worked at CBS News, she turned to her husband and Dick Clark. “This is the boy who took me to lunch when he was a sophomore in college,” she told them. “And I said, ‘Oh, I’ll be hearing from Andrew Cohen again.’ And here you are! You brought me that sweatshirt,” she added, as though that day were as indelibly imprinted in her memory as it was in mine. I floated on air all night. A few years later I was at the
about what I’d just experienced. Which, I realized, was going to be an ongoing challenge. Because from the moment I got there, everywhere I looked and listened was gay, gay, gay. You couldn’t walk one foot in London that year without hearing Erasure’s super-gay pop song “Chains of Love.” Oh, and my flat was in the gayest part of town, Earl’s Court. How the hell was I supposed to stay in the closet when living in a neighborhood where everybody looked like a Village Person? I certainly wasn’t