Andy Cohen Breaks Silence on Jeff Lewis Dispute and Says He'd Be Reluctant to Renew Flipping Out
Andy Cohen may not be running Bravo programming anymore, but the Watch What Happens Live host admits that he's not sure if he'd pick up Jeff Lewis' show Flipping Out for another season if he were
On Wednesday, Cohen finally addressed the ongoing controversy surrounding Lewis — speaking out on his SiriusXM show Andy Cohen Live about Lewis publicly expressing his frustration about his contract with Bravo not having been renewed by its Oct. 15 deadline and Flipping Out‘s uncertain future.
“If I were in charge of programming at Bravo at this point, would I pick it up? I don’t know,” Cohen said, likening Lewis’s outspoken criticism of Bravo’s handling of his contract to how comedian Chelsea Handler slammed E! before ending Chelsea Lately‘s seven-season run and launching her own Netflix series.
“It’s kind of like that Chelsea Handler thing,” Cohen said “Remember when Chelsea Handler was just trashing E! everywhere when she was trying to make a deal with Netflix? Why is E! going to want to make a deal with her when she is trashing the network constantly.”
Cohen, 50, had a reason to be upset. A day earlier, Lewis had read text messages allegedly sent by Cohen on his SiriusXM show Jeff Lewis Live, which airs on Cohen’s XM channel, RadioAndy. Lewis claimed that Cohen was angry about a photo Lewis posted telling fans his contract wasn’t renewed.
Reading those alleged messages aloud apparently annoyed Cohen further. “You’re such an a——,” Lewis claimed Cohen texted him halfway through Tuesday’s show in response.
Since then, over 50,000 people have signed a petition to get Flipping Out another season (a cause Lewis was happy to promote). Many of those same people have flooded Cohen’s Twitter account, begging him not to end the series.
But Cohen insisted he actually has nothing to do with Flipping Out‘s future. “Don’t tweet me cause I don’t run Bravo programming anymore,” he urged Andy Cohen Live listeners
“The show hasn’t finished airing,” Cohen added. “And even with the [Real] Housewives of New York [City] or the [Real] Housewives of Atlanta, they pick up the show after that season airs. That’s how it works. So I don’ think they’ve decided in any direction whether they want to engage him about picking it up.”
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Indeed, reps for Bravo confirm to PEOPLE that “nothing official has been determined” regarding Flipping Out.
Lewis echoed Cohen’s and Bravo’s statements on Tuesday’s Jeff Lewis Live — though claimed “there have been times when they picked up the show right after episode 3 airs.” He also alleged Bravo doesn’t inform its stars when shows haven’t been picked up. “They just go dark as far as I know,” Lewis said. “It would be nice to hear from an upper level executive, with flowers or something.”
Regardless of what happens, Cohen is confident that Lewis will have a future on television.
“Just so you know, if it doesn’t get picked up after this season by Bravo, he had a meeting at Netflix yesterday — he’s desperately trying to get this show on Netflix,” Cohen claimed. “It’ll wind up on Netflix. You’re going to get Flipping Out. The show’s going to get picked up. If it’s not on Bravo, then it’ll be somewhere … It’ll be a similar show. It’ll be a littler inferior if it’s somewhere else, but it’s okay.”
As for Lewis, he’s not too happy with Cohen’s take on the situation, especially how the Most Talkative author compared Lewis to Handler. “He said that I am trashing Bravo on my way out and that is not true,” Lewis insisted on Thursday’s Jeff Lewis Live.
“I was very complimentary to Bravo,” he says. “And by the way, if I was trashing Bravo on my way out and trying to burn bridges, why would I then encourage people to sign a petition to keep me on the network? That is not me. I still would like to work with Bravo … I am not dissing Bravo in any form.”
Lewis also debated Cohen’s claim that he was “desperately trying to get [Flipping Out] on Netflix.”
“It’s not that I’m desperate to get another show going, I just want to make money for my family.” Lewis said. “Now, I don’t know what that looks like. I’m open to all outcomes. It doesn’t have to be another show, I just want a job — that’s it … I just want to continue to make money and work.”
“I would love to do television but it may be over for me,” Lewis stressed. “And if that is the case, I had an 11 year run and I’m very open to doing anything else.”
While fans continue to await news of Flipping Out’s fate, there’s still a lot keeping Lewis in the headlines.
In recent months, the Jeff Lewis Design owner has been at the center of two major controversies. He came under fire in June, when the surrogate who carried his and partner Gage Edward’s daughter Monroe, now almost 2, sued the couple, Bravo and Flipping Out’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, for allegedly filming her delivery without her permission, among other issues.
Then in September, just before Flipping Out‘s premiere, PEOPLE exclusively reported that Lewis had parted ways with his friend of nearly 20 years and co-star Jenni Pulos, after a huge fight that he says was caught on film and will be part of the show’s current season. Lewis claims Pulos reported him to Bravo for “abuse and victimization” and later wrongful termination.