The untold truth of Bravo TV

Bravo TV is home to so many reality shows that it can kind of be hard to keep track of them all, although die-hard fans of the network have no issue with that. Their obsession with Bravo TV is so real and widespread that the network even hosted its own convention for the first time in 2019, BravoCon. At the event, stars from all of Bravo’s hottest shows took the stage to answer questions, spill the tea, and show their love for their fans. Not a lot of television networks can say that they’ve hosted such an event jam-packed with superfans, but Bravo TV sure can. Um, can we get a TLC convention, too?

From housewives to southerners to yacht crews and so much more, Bravo TV boasts a diverse cadre of programming for just about anyone. But, the untold truth of Bravo TV is that the network is truly dedicated to its viewers, so fans can expect to see a lot more Bravo TV shows coming their way in the future.

Bravo TV is part of the NBC family

If you have cable or any kind of streaming service that allows you to watch live television, then you probably know that there are literally hundreds of channels out there. And while Bravo TV may just be one of many television networks, it’s actually part of a larger conglomerate that practically runs the world of entertainment, in more ways than one.

Specifically, Bravo TV is a channel run by NBC Universal, and that means that it reaches a “global audience” — and has plenty of funds to create, develop, produce, and market all of its original programming. According to Bravo TV’s website, the network has been a part of the NBC family since 2002. Before that, Bravo TV first launched in December 1980, and it was the first channel “dedicated to film and the performing arts.” Basically, Bravo TV has always been original, and its parent company, NBC, helps make that happen.

How can you get cast on a Bravo TV show?

Because Bravo TV is home to so many popular reality series, it’s only natural that people wonder if they could appear on one. The answer is that you can, but, it’s pretty complicated. 

For example, Below Deck typically swaps out at least a few cast members each season, sometimes more. However, most crew members who appear on Below Deck have worked on a yacht before, just FYI. But if you have the cash, you could always shoot to be a charter guest on Below Deck or even Below Deck Mediterranean. Obviously, chartering a yacht is expensive, but you do get a discount for filming.

Another way you can get cast on a Bravo TV show is to just apply. Many times, Real Housewives producers are on the hunt for new wives in select cities, so if you feel like you fit the bill, then it can’t hurt to apply. But unless you have experience working on a yacht, tons of money to charter said yacht, or live a luxurious lifestyle in a city where Real Housewives is already filmed, being cast on a Bravo TV show is tough.

Cast members of Bravo TV shows write blogs

Part of what makes Bravo TV so enticing is that the drama on the reality shows can feel real. Take the Real Housewives franchise, for instance. The entire show centers on wealthy women simply living their lives in front of a camera, yet somehow it manages to be wildly entertaining and extremely successful. Sure, some of the conflict might feel forced at times, but the fact that some cast members write blogs about the feuds featured on the show contextualize events.

While the blogs aren’t always up-to-date on Bravo TV’s website, the cast members of shows like The Real Housewives of Orange County typically take to their own blog each week to explain their side of things, and give some perspective on the what took place on the screen. This extra element makes it feel as though the stars on Bravo TV are real, and the issues brought up on each episode really impacted them. 

Bravo TV features shows about a wide variety of subjects

While Bravo TV is definitely known for its reality television shows, and especially the Real Housewives franchise, it also broadcasts shows that focus on just about every subject. Sure, our favorite housewives might dominate the Bravo TV universe — thanks to the fact that they film in so many cities — but there’s more to the network than catfights and dinner parties. Between their past hit series and what they currently have on the air, Bravo TV has hours of entertainment.

As the Bravo TV website states, the network has something for everyone. There are shows about fashion, food, design, pop culture, real estate, fitness, and even beauty. Seriously, to look at the roster of Bravo TV shows, plenty of folks would be impressed by the selection. Where else can you watch so many diverse programs?

Bravo TV might not have as many scripted shows as other networks, but their original programming can keep you occupied for hours on end.

Bravo TV is very popular among women

Bravo TV might have a show for everyone’s interests, but there’s one demographic that the network has really struck gold with: female viewers (via the New York Post). While many networks draw in a wide range of viewers, Bravo tends to get more women to watch its shows than men. Perhaps it’s because the Real Housewives franchise centers on telling female stories, as do shows like Married to Medicine, and many others. Clearly Bravo TV values women’s’ perspectives, and their ratings show that it’s working for them.

In fact, according to The Futon Critic, Bravo TV was the number one cable network among women in both 2017 and 2018. Additionally, 2018 was a stellar year for the network, as its female viewership expanded, and it remained loyal to those viewers by expanding its programming. 

That’s not to say that men don’t watch Bravo TV, as there’s plenty of programming that sparks their interest as well, like Beats and Bites with the Potash Twins, or Real Estate Wars. They’re just outnumbered by the women in this case.

Andy Cohen is the face of Bravo TV

If you’ve never watched an entire season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or Southern Charm, then you might not know that Andy Cohen is basically the face of Bravo TV. The reason? He hosts the reunion shows for all the Real Housewives cities, and his talk show, Watch What Happens Live, is an integral part of Bravo TV’s programming.

As The Washington Post reported, Cohen was instrumental in bringing reality television to Bravo. Additionally, it’s not just Cohen’s knack for interviewing guests and producing binge-able shows that makes him the face of Bravo — people just love his personality, according to Lauren Zalaznick, Chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment. “Andy himself really embodies that,” she shared, referencing Cohen’s ability to represent the real people behind Bravo’s hit shows. “His own human nature is a great deal of what makes him a superstar.” 

Indeed fans and Bravo TV personalities alike adore Cohen, which is why many Real Housewives cast members helped to throw him an epic baby shower back in 2019. So if there’s a “father” of Bravo TV, it’s Andy Cohen.

This is Bravo TV's longest-running franchise

Sure, you might know of the Real Housewives franchise, but did you know that it’s Bravo TV’s longest-running franchise ever? According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series that has stuck around the longest on the network is, without a doubt, The Real Housewives of Orange County. The show was the first Real Housewives show to launch, kick-starting the network’s impressive ability to take semi-regular women and turn them into bona fide reality stars. That’s something to be proud of, according to Lauren Zalaznick, Chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment. “Who would have thought that a fairly modest series would be here six years [later] as our longest-running franchise?” she told the magazine. “It’s beyond incredible. It’s absurd.” 

Thanks to the staying power of the Real Housewives franchise, Bravo TV has quite the nice income stream: the housewives brought in between $35.6 to $162 million in ad revenue just in two years, which is no small amount! It just goes to show that there really isn’t a Bravo TV without the Real Housewives.

Bravo TV is known for telling real stories

As purveyors of reality television, Bravo TV works hard to make sure that fans get as much of the full picture as possible. They’re known for telling real stories through its programs; even though it’s only natural to suspect that the cast of shows like Real Housewives act a little different on camera than they do in real life, Bravo tries to keep it as authentic as possible, says Lauren Zalaznick, the Chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment. “We embraced the idea that real people are as interesting, if not more so, than scripted characters,” she revealed to The Washington Post. 

Sometimes, though, reality can get a little too dark for television; that was certainly the case when Real Housewives star Taylor Armstrong’s husband, Russell Armstrong, took his own life. But for Andy Cohen, it was important to be honest about what happened. “We talked endlessly,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “In the end, we decided to capture what happened as sensitively as we could.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Some reality stars on Bravo TV claim the producers start drama

Listen, despite its moniker, there are a lot of reasons to believe that reality television isn’t as real as one might believe (via The Washington Post). Yes, it features real people instead of actors, and yes, real life drama happens on camera. However, there have been plenty of occasions when reality stars have alleged that drama was staged, or at least encouraged, by crew members.

Specifically, one former Orange County housewife, Peggy Tanous, told The Hollywood Reporter that she was encouraged to create her own plot on the show. “We started meeting with producers to discuss storylines,” she explained. “I started getting anxiety thinking about all the forced drama that does happen on occasion.” 

However, Real Housewives producer Doug Ross denied that allegation. “The audience could sniff that a mile away, so why even bother?” he stated. He also shared that the cast is encouraged to plan events with the other women, but no plotting is required. Whatever goes on behind the scenes, though, Bravo TV knows how to get viewers locked in on the on-screen drama.

There have been awkward moments on Bravo TV

In order for a show or even an entire network to be truly authentic, they have to reckon with some awkward or uncomfortable moments. Certainly there have been some seriously awkward kisses in reality TV history. Insofar as Bravo TV is concerned, it has proven to be the network of zero shame, as even Andy Cohen himself has experienced a level of embarrassment on camera that few others ever will.

During an episode of Watch What Happens Live, Cohen interviewed Tituss Burgess; the whole thing was super hard to watch, as it was clear the two disagreed on a lot of things. But according to Cohen, it was a success. “Say what you will about that episode with Tituss, but it was a half-hour episode of television where he was not feeling me, and you saw it — and we’re not cutting around that,” he told the The Washington Post. Cohen added that his fans “crave” that level of realness, and he’s happy to provide it.

Bravo TV was home to the original "Queer Eye" series

While Netflix revamped and launched their version of the makeover show, Queer Eye, in 2018, the original show slipped some people’s memories. Sure, Netflix made Queer Eye cool again with its new Fab Five, but Bravo TV was home to the original series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, all the way back in 2003. And back then, the series was a pretty big deal.

In fact, when Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered, the Chicago Tribune claimed that the show was helping to make television more “gay-friendly.” Since then, the world has come such a long way, thanks in part to that series. In fact, Jai Rodriguez, a star of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, told BuzzFeed News that he realized just how much more accepted being gay was in 2018. “Being out in 2003 was political. You being out was saying something,” he explained. “Whereas now it’s not really as big of a deal.” 

Bravo TV can be credited with helping to normalize the LGBTQ community on screen, and that’s an impressive feat.

Bravo TV gets the inside scoop on celebrities

Though most Bravo TV programming tends to focus on somewhat ordinary people, like the cast of shows such as Summer House, many of the guests who come on Watch What Happens Live are actual celebrities. Obviously, Andy Cohen does interview cast members from Bravo TV programs on his show, but celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Julianne Moore, and others also appear on some episodes.

For Cohen, getting the inside scoop on celebrities for Bravo TV audiences is truly thrilling. “I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of endorphin released in me every time someone reveals a secret, whether the question came from me or not,” he revealed to The Washington Post. As Cohen oftentimes asks questions submitted by viewers at home, this makes sense. “We are very proud at the amount of water-cooler churn that we generate on the show,” he added. He then went on to describe his talk show as “Playboy After Dark meets Wayne’s World meets Larry King Live.” 

Bravo TV may focus primarily on original reality programming, but when it has the chance to break celeb news, it goes for it.

Bravo TV has been nominated for a lot of awards

In the entertainment world, awards are everything. Well, not everything, but they are very important, and it’s always nice to receive recognition for hard work. And for Bravo TV, award nominations are kind of expected for many of their original shows. The network is typically recognized each year when awards season rolls around, and that’s pretty impressive in and of itself.

According to Bravo TV, the network was nominated for 43 separate People’s Choice Awards in 2019, which is a huge feat. The network also received nominations in categories such as reality shows, talk shows, and even reality stars of the year. And while they ultimately didn’t take home big wins (via E! News), as any actor can tell you, it truly is an honor just to be nominated. 

Previously, Bravo was also nominated for two Emmy awards, in 2012 and 2013, both times for its Top Chef programming. Clearly, the network knows what its doing, and isn’t afraid to take risks, or take things to the next level.

Bravo TV had to cancel a few fan favorites

Bravo TV is a successful network that’s able to hold its own in the super saturated television market. Whether that’s due to the support from NBC Universal, or its own programming and marketing, it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, Bravo TV does well for itself. 

But even though most Bravo TV shows have plenty of fans, the network has had to cancel more than a few series over the course of its history. For example, while most Real Housewives spinoffs have been ultra-successful, some cities (like Miami, Melbourne, and D.C) didn’t get the ratings they needed to stay afloat. Bravo TV also canceled Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-ListHey Paula, and NYC Prep, as Bustle reported. 

Even if you’ve never heard of any of Bravo TV’s canceled shows, there’s no denying that the network has come a long was since it’s launch.

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