Bravo executive and Housewives producer Andy Cohen has given audiences a plethora of content ever since the iconic inception of the Real Housewives franchises, which began with the founding series The Real Housewives of Orange County.
In a new interview, Andy is revealing the secret behind the pop culture phenom’s success as well as how Bravo once “banned” a word from the show.
Speaking with Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle on the final episode of her Archetypes podcast, Andy and Meghan entered into a discussion of the word “b**ch” and how its use has evolved from a term of degradation to one of “power,” including “Boss B**ch” and “HBIC” [Head B**ch in Charge].
“I was doing an episode purely on the B-word, but most of the women I spoke to had very little issue with the word [because] it’s so oversaturated that it’s almost diffused. And instead, they were saying, what is charged for them, is how easily women are now being called ‘difficult,’ and that it’s really just a euphemism for the same thing but it has more of a dig to it,” Meghan explained via Heavy.
Andy agreed and shockingly revealed that he once had completely banned the use of the term altogether due to concerns from Housewife cast members.
“You know, it’s funny. We banned the word ‘b****.’ We’ve had a weird relationship with the B-word on the Housewives,” Andy said. “And there was a housewife that wanted to use it in her tagline and we finally — the women who ran Bravo said, ‘we don’t want the B-word in the show open for the Housewives. This is a negative.”
The ban didn’t last for long as one Housewife stood up and allegedly said that the word was a positive affirmation for her and likened the term to “queer.”
“I think that what ultimately wound up happening was… the case was made by the woman like, ‘no, this is a positive to me,’” Andy explained.
Though no specific timeline for the banning and unbanning of the B-word was made clear, what is evident is that numerous Housewives have used the word in their opening taglines over the years, including Dina Manzo, Eileen Davidson, and Lisa Vanderpump, just to name a few.
Speaking of years, the Housewives franchise has entered the pop culture canon in the world of reality television. The secret to its longevity? According to Andy, it comes down to perfectly curating and casting the right combination of ladies to represent their respective franchises.
“The secret sauce of ‘The Housewives’ is all in the casting,” Andy said when asked how the franchise continues to retain relevancy.
“I think we’ve done a lot of great work — finding the right women and then figuring out how to keep the energy going and taking people out of the mix and putting people back in and putting new people in,” Andy told Yahoo! Finance.
“There’s not a science to it, but [it’s] a process that we all care very much about,” he explained.
The Watch What Happens Live host also paid respect to the “brand” that the Housewives have been able to build.
“The good news is we have a brand. I would argue that Bravo is one of the few brands in television or streaming that people actually care about,” the producer said, noting the success of BravoCon.
“Bravo is a vibe that people love…and ‘The Housewives’ are a brand that people care about,” Andy concluded. “[Bravo] a destination, it’s a place they want to go.”