New York Times and Bravo, Sittin’ in a Tree…

While I have a pretty good idea what kind of reader the New York Times’ Sunday Style section is intended for (and it certainly isn’t me), the paper’s puppy-dog crush on Bravo as the “It” cable network is beginning to look a trifle embarrassing.

First, there was the Times magazine’s comprehensive 2008 profile of Bravo chief Lauren Zalaznick, dubbing her “The Affluencer,” borrowing the channel’s marketing pitch for its upscale audience. Zalaznick has done a first-class job putting Bravo on the map, but the piece was still a huge valentine to those accomplishments.

Then Sunday, I waded (with great difficulty, I confess) through Style’s big wet kiss to Bravo exec VP Andy Cohen, who also hosts the NBC Universal-owned cabler’s talk program “Watch What Happens: Live.”

What was the take-away from the piece? I’m not really sure, other than that Cohen has some famous friends and still likes to “party” as a verb, like he’s in college. Not sure that’s precisely the image you want to be putting out there as the famously boring Comcast gang prepares to take over parent NBC U, but then again, I wouldn’t have cast the Salahis on “Real Housewives of D.C.” either.

Still, it’s hard to fault Bravo for ringing up more publicity in what’s assuredly the channel’s favorite print venue, with the possible exception of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. What’s in it for the Times, though — other than looking overly agog at what reporter Susan Dominus describes as Cohen’s “unusually star-studded social life” — is less clear. For starters, there’s not a single reference to any of the criticism lobbed Bravo’s way over the Salahis and the White House party crashers story (Cohen was the point person in unconvincingly defending that move), which seems especially strange given the length of the story and the venue.

Instead, it’s all about Cohen knowing Anderson Cooper and Sarah Jessica Parker.

As Archie Bunker might say, “Whoop-te-freakin’-do.” And as Dominus might quote her subject as saying in the article, “OMG!”



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