Face Time: Andy Cohen

Chances are high that during an episode of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” someone — a celeb guest, a random caller — will declare their love for host Andy Cohen. And for good reason. The reality TV guru behind “The Real Housewives” franchise and “Project Runway” is unabashed and bitingly funny. His new memoir, “Most Talkative” ($25, Henry Holt and Company), recounts his long-term relationship with pop culture and the gossip he’s gathered along the way. He’ll be signing copies at this year’s the Front Row in Bethesda on Friday, May 18 at 5 p.m. (Bethesdarow.com).

You’re usually on the other side of the hotseat. What was it like to interview yourself for this book?
The idea of having to look back on your life and think about it thematically was really challenging. I’m not saying it’s Tolstoy, but you want threads to appear and reappear. What emerged was the role pop culture and soap operas played in my life and how that has manifested itself.

Can you share your favorite story in the book?
There’s a chapter about interactions I had with Oprah Winfrey during my time at CBS. I lied to her and her people in order to get an interview. I look back on that with shock and horror, because it’s something I could probably get fired for doing today.

What was the most difficult thing to write about?
Probably coming out. I came out in a very different time than today, and I was really worried I would be ostracized. Also, I think writing about the housewives was a challenge. I wanted to be really dishy and give fans some inside info, but didn’t want to sell anyone out.

What do you look for when you’re casting a Bravo show?
Someone we’ve never seen before. Someone who has something to say. In the case of someone we’re building a docu-series around, like Rachel Zoe or Jeff Lewis, someone who’s an expert in their field. And in terms of housewives, big personalities who are fun and opinionated and have someplace to go.

What TV pilots have you passed on?
There’s a story in the book about Cybill Shepherd stripping down to her bra and getting me to take my shirt off during a pitch meeting for a modern-day “Absolutely Fabulous” show about her and her best friend. I ended up passing. In the rearview mirror, I think that show would have been really good.

 How will your appearance at the Front Row event be different from a typical book signing?
I hope to do a reading and a signing and take questions. I’d love for the audience to determine what we talk about, so I’m hoping to make it as interactive as possible.

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of The Washington Post Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at holley.simmons@wpost.com.
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