Talk-show host Andy Cohen is expanding his empire.
After beginning his career as an intern at CBS News, he became vice president of the cable network Trio. Trio was then bought by Bravo in 2004. He went on to win an Emmy and a Peabody Award as an executive producer for Top Chef and Project Runway, respectively.
After hosting Watch What Happens Live for Bravo, he then switches over to Fox for the revamped Love Connection.
This new version of the matchmaking show is from the creator of The Bachelor, Mike Fleiss. Three blind dates are set up with $500 to spend, hoping to find love with a different contestant each round.
Cohen spoke with several publications and outlets, including Windy City Times, recently about his connection to the Connection.
Question: Hi, Andy. I loved all the Chicago people on the first episode of Love Connection.
Andy Cohen: Yes, there were a lot.
Q: Are we going to see any LGBT match ups on the show?
AC: Yes, you bet. We have some great lesbians, and great gay guys. Actually the gay guys are from Chicago. One of the lesbian daters comes out to her mother on the air.
We've got a straight man who is in his seventies who went on his first online date recently and the woman stood him up, so we set him up with three dates.
We have a surprising Real Housewife. We have a lot of big ones.
Q: Who influenced you more: Patti Stanger or Chuck Woolery?
AC: Really, myself, I think Chuck Woolery has a kind of ease and I liked his ease, just that he was very calm and seemed really relaxed and mellow. But, I'm pretty excitable, so that goes away. I really love asking people personal awkward questions, so I think Patti is a little tougher in her style than I am.
Q: How was this Love Connection made more modern than the original?
AC: We've got a $10,000 twist at the end of the show, where if the audience chooses someone different than the dater then they have to decide between a love connection or money and rejection, which is amazing. They also go on way more dates this time. They date each of the potential three suitors, and we have them score the dates at the beginning of the date based on their first impressions of each other's looks. And the rest is he said/she said about dating.
Q: Did any contestant surprise you?
AC: There were a lot of surprises on Love Connection, but in the first episode we've got an African-American woman named Sheena who goes on her first-ever date with a white guy. It actually elicits some really great comedy and there's a really sweet ending to the story, and so that was really kind of surprising and fun to me.
Q: What was it like working with Mike [Fleiss], from The Bachelor series?
AC: It was really great. He's amazing, and he and I are both the dead heads so we have that in common. He's not that familiar with Housewives Nation and I'm not that familiar with Bachelor Nation so it was perfect. We came together about Love Connection and The Grateful Dead.
Q: What made you want to host Love Connection?
AC: I just loved the format and asking awkward questions. It just felt like the perfect marriage of a show for me.
Q: How does it fit into your bigger career ambitions?
AC: Well, this is kind of it. I mean I don't want to say that I have no more ambitions after this but I do have to say that I've been wanting some kind of real estate in prime time that worked for me just conceptually. This was the perfect show for me. With the radio and Watch What Happens Live and the Housewives and the book imprint and all that other stuff, I feel absolutely kind of great about everything that I have going on. I think Love Connection is the perfect addition and topper to it all.
Q: Would you go on three dates to meet a new boyfriend?
AC: I would go on three dates, but I don't know if I would do it on TV.
Q: Have you ever thought about doing a gay Real Househusbands?
AC: We have talked about it on and off, but no. I think the Real Housewives are already pretty gay shows.
Q: Well, we'll see you in Chicago soon on a book tour, hopefully.
AC: You bet.
Look for "Love" on Fox Thursdays at 8 p.m. CT.