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Posted at 06:47 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Bravo enters late-night talk war with expanded ‘Watch What Happens Live’


Andy Cohen (Charles Sykes - AP)
Bravo is expanding its programming suit’s twice-weekly late night “after show” into a five night a week talk show, starting Jan 8.

 Bravo exec vp Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live,” currently runs Sundays and Mondays, and was conceived as one of those “after show” thinggummies a network uses to promote the program viewers have just seen on the network.

 This concept has been a mainstay of MTV for years, and the genre now also includes Lifetime’s  “After the Runway,” running right after “Project Runway,” and AMC’s “Talking Dead,” which follows new episodes of that network’s zombie drama, “Walking Dead.”

Bravo came up with “Watch What Happens Live” – hosted by the guy in charge of its programming and production -- to de-construct just-seen episodes of  the “Real Housewives” franchise, on Sundays and Mondays.

Cohen got the gig because he’d been writing a popular blog about his network’s shows. The programming suit became an on-air star for the NBC Universal cable network and, on the strength of his personality, the show attracted non-Bravo guests, including Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Kelly Ripa, Kristen Chenoweth, Jimmy Fallon, Neal Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson, etc — turning the show into a ratings magnet that, in its two nights a week, gives TBS’s Conan O’Brien a run for his money.

“Watch What Happens Live” is, as the name suggests, live to the east coast. It is also refreshingly opening-monologue-free, and features freely lubricated guests and studio audience, phone calls from viewers, and lots more reality show guests than your typical late night talk show – will continue to have a start time of 11 p.m.

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By  |  06:47 PM ET, 11/21/2011

 
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