Frances Berwick may not be a name as familiar to Bravo fans as Andy Cohen but it’s equally important to take heed of what she has to say when it comes to the future of the network. She is the President, after all.
And, clearly, she’s been doing something right. The Hollywood Reporter characterized the way Frances Berwick and Andy Cohen have worked together to make Bravo what it is today:
“Frances Berwick is Bravo’s practical implementer and Cohen its resident pop-culture connoisseur; the network’s success seems to demonstrate the virtue of opposites. From its breakout hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to a seemingly endless parade of Real Housewives, Bravo has led a reality revolution that’s turned guilty-pleasure TV into social anthropology. “We’re recognized for reality that has a high-quality sheen,” Berwick says.”
Recently, TheWrap.com featured an interview with Ms. Berwick. Snippets from this interview are less likely to circulate the reality blogosphere than Teresa Giudice’s latest Christmas card but, if you take a read, she has some quite interesting things to say about where Bravo is headed.
On the subject of the future for scripted projects on the network, after missing their original goal of 4th quarter 2013:
“Our attitude has been we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to unscripted shows that already target our core audience, who are highly educated and upscale,” Bravo and Oxygen president Frances Berwick told TheWrap.
“That gives us the luxury to be able to take our time and find the perfect show that fits the brand and we really believe is additive to the network,” she continued. “It has felt to you guys like this is a long, drawn out process. And note, I feel it’s a long, drawn out process compared to the speed in which we can go with reality. For us, it’s not about doing it. It’s about going into scripted right because it’s totally on brand and we think our audience will love it. I would say we’re getting closer.”
On whether she thinks The Housewives franchise is still living up to its goal of being aspirational for viewers given things like bankruptcies and legals issues surrounding several key cast members:
“It’s absolutely a goal and I think it’s still true… I think you look at these women’s lives and you may not wish to have their lives, but you appreciate the lives that they live and the houses they live in, that overall lifestyle can be very aspirational while you really connect with them on a human level because of what they’re going through and their approach to life.”
“I think often our relationships to these characters change. Even during the course of the season, there are some characters where you think ‘I don’t understand where they’re coming from” or “I don’t even like them,” and I think you can come full circle and absolutely adore them by the end of the show and conversely have the opposite reaction. But I think it’s very fluid in the way that a lot of friendships and relationships and the relationship with the audience. We see this time and time again. When there’s any direct interaction between our viewers and these characters, whether that’s social media or meeting in the flesh, they feel like these are friends or people that they know. That’s how they embrace them. It’s a very different type of relationship from any other shows.”
And, finally, on Andy Cohen’s new role and whether the change was a tough decision (he recently gave up an executive position and is now running his own production company):
“Yes, of course it’s tough because he’s such a fun person. But, the good news is he’s still going to be here in the office. I feel like he’s around so much and he’s such a part of the DNA and will continue to be so, but it doesn’t really feel like we’ve let him go.”
Read the full interview and article here.