UPDATE: July 12 ― Bravo executives have announced that the upcoming late-night show “Real Men Watch Bravo” will be renamed following a wave of feedback.
“Bravo has always prided itself on being inclusive,” a spokeswoman for the network said. “This show is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things Bravo featuring a diverse range of perspectives. The original title was not meant to be exclusionary in any way, but we hear you and will be announcing a new title shortly.”
The network did not immediately respond to a question about whether the show will only feature male guests. However, following the initial publication of this story, actor Jerry O’Connell ― who is slated to host the show ― told HuffPost in a tweet that producers “will be BEGGING” the “Real Housewives” cast to appear. It’s not clear whether O’Connell’s tweet represents an official statement from the network.
This fall, Bravo is set to debut a groundbreaking all-women talk show to rival Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” in the boys’ club space that has historically been late-night television, marking another win for feminism.
The upcoming Bravo series will feature no women whatsoever.
How, might you ask, does “Real Men Watch Bravo” have any place in the era of Time’s Up, as powerful women in entertainment have led the charge against gender-based discrimination in their industry?
It is a good question, and one that we directed to Bravo’s public relations department.
They did not respond.
“Real Men Watch Bravo” will be executive produced by Andy Cohen, who already hosts a late-night show on the network, “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.” The new offering is to be hosted by actor Jerry O’Connell, described by the network as a “walking encyclopedia of Bravo history,” who will play host to “a panel of male celebrities, comics and tastemakers, discussing the buzziest Bravo moments and a variety of topics steeped in pop culture.”
O’Connell’s mixed-bag career kicked off with a leading role in the 1986 classic “Stand By Me,” in which he appears as the naive Vern, and has continued primarily with a long series of TV appearances punctuated by his starring turn in 2003’s “Kangaroo Jack.”
He is also a big fan of “Real Housewives.”
The soon-to-be host will serve as something of a Bravo evangelist to straight men who secretly like soapy television but apparently need another straight man to assure them that such a preference does not negate, lessen or affect their masculinity. In this way, the show featuring O’Connell, who is married to a woman, will be a completely different offering than the late-night Bravo series hosted by Cohen, who dates men.
A Monday press release proclaims: “Whether realizing they were a die-hard ‘Vanderpump Rules’ fan after being introduced to the sizzling series by their girlfriends or learning how to cook the perfect filet from binging ‘Top Chef’ episodes for hours, these men are unapologetic Bravoholics and hope to encourage others to step out of the shadows and admit what some have known all along ... Real Men Watch Bravo.”
We might imagine an alternate reality in which the male ego would be charmed by a show titled “Real Men Watch What They Want Because Gender Is But A Social Construct,” but dreams are dreams.
This story has been updated to reflect Bravo’s statement and O’Connell’s tweet.