SXSW Day 1: Crowd watches what happens when Bravo's Andy Cohen takes the stage

Posted 7:22am on Saturday, Mar. 09, 2013

Bravo exec and host Andy Cohen got the Austin welcome to South by Southwest Interactive Friday afternoon: He was stuck in traffic, making him 15 minutes late to his talk on his nightly late-night talk show, Watch What Happens Live.

The good news: He talked a lot about interactivity and its role in making his series successful, let it be known that he loves Friday Night Lights ("if Connie Britton came on [WWHL], I'd pee in my pants"), and talked about how WWHL's airing next week from Austin is going to be a major milestone for his show.

The bad news: no Real Housewives or Top Chefs showed up to take potshots at each other.

Taking the stage with WWHL producer Michael Davies in front of a largely female audience at Dell Hall, Cohen said the show's interactivity is a natural, as WWHL started online.

"Bravo's always been pretty tech savvy. We were on one of the first channels to partner with Foursquare," he said.

Now, Twitter plays a major part on WWHL. "We're all about social media," he said. "The Housewives reunion shows are driven by viewer questions [on Twitter]."

Davies said that while WWHL's TV audience has been growing in single-digit percentages, its online following has been growing at 30 percent a year.

In fact, Cohen took questions via Twitter during the session, most of which dealt with the show, though one cheeky questioner asked, "Have you ever kissed [friend and WWHL [guest] Anderson Cooper?"

The answer was decidedly not tabloid-ready. "No," he said. "We're friends."

As for the Austin shows next week, he's promising a particularly Bravo-ready lineup, including Real Housewife Kenya Moore and comedian Sarah Silverman.

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