Top Chef: How Transmedia is Changing TV
Bravo’s interactive late-night talk show, “Watch What Happens Live,” is coming to SXSW. Meet the on and off-screen digital mavens, including the show’s host Andy Cohen, Tom Colicchio (“Top Chef” judge), Lisa Hsia, Aimee Viles and Dave Serwatka. In Cohen’s SXSW Clubhouse, these visionaries will illustrate how “Top Chef 9” brought multi-platform storytelling beyond the linear screen. When Bravo embarked on their transmedia mission in the fall of 2011, they broke new ground with digital innovations and fostered a unique two-way fan/cast relationship. Dive deep with Bravo into their latest industry first and learn the return on investment for the network and for the fan. Through this soup-to-nuts presentation, discover why transmedia is the future of the entertainment industry.
Aimee Viles is Vice President of Emerging Media, Bravo Media, where she is responsible for supervising Bravo’s Emerging Media department, including all wireless and tablet sites, apps, Social TV, interactive TV, gaming, and other emerging media initiatives. Prior to joining Bravo, Viles served as Director of Creative Services at Ensequence, a premiere provider of internet TV products and services, responsible for building revenue generating business services for programming and advertising partners and spearheading development for new business ventures. Her clients included NBC, Bravo, MTV, Nickelodeon, ESPN, GSN, Showtime, AETN, CNN, Nike, Ford, Sony, and Verizon. She also honed her skills at UK-based Vodafone, where she was responsible for content strategy and programming plans for the mobile provider’s internet applications and products.Viles graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently resides in New York City.
Andy Cohen is Bravo's Executive Vice President of Development and Talent, a position he has held since November 2011. He is responsible for overseeing the network's current development slate, creating original content, developing innovative formats and identifying new talent. He also serves as Executive Producer on Emmy and James Beard award-winning "Top Chef," and “The Real Housewives” franchises.
In addition, Cohen is the host and Executive Producer of “Watch What Happens: Live," Bravo’s late night, interactive talk show that features guests from some of Bravo's most popular series, as well as from the world of entertainment, politics and pop culture. The series includes lively debates on everything from fashion, the latest on fans favorite Bravolebrities, to what celebrity is making headlines that week. Past guests have included Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Patti LaBelle, Molly Shannon, Kristen Chenoweth, Tracey Ullman, Anderson Cooper, Ellen Barkin, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lance Bass as well as several ‘Bravolebrities.’Cohen also hosts the network’s highly rated reunion specials and writes "Andy's Blog," posted daily on BravoTV.com, where he covers pop culture, television, media and his daily life.
Cohen started at Bravo in 2005 as Senior Vice President of Original Programming & Development and was upped to Executive Vice President of Original Programming & Development in December, 2010. Since then he has overseen an aggressive slate of unscripted series and specials including hits such as the Peabody Award winning "Project Runway," "Queer Eye," "Work Out," “Being Bobby Brown,” “Top Design,” “Make Me a Supermodel,” “Blow Out,” “Kathy Griffin My Life On the D List,” “The A List Awards” "The Millionaire Matchmaker," "Million Dollar Listing," “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,” “Bethenny Ever After,” “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” and "Flipping Out."
Previously, Cohen was Vice President of Original Programming for TRIO (pop, culture, TV), beginning in July 2000. He was responsible for developing and supervising all of TRIO's original productions including the critically acclaimed original documentaries "Gay Republicans," "Easy Riders/Raging Bulls," "Brilliant, But Cancelled," and the original series "Pilot Season,” "24w/" and "Parking Lot."
Cohen received an Emmy award when season six of “Top Chef” won Outstanding Reality Competition Program at the 2010 primetime Emmy awards and has been nominated for eleven additional Emmy Awards as Executive Producer of "Project Greenlight," "Project Runway," "Top Chef" and "Queer Eye." In 2005, Cohen was awarded a Peabody Award for his role as Executive Producer of the TRIO documentary "The N Word" and another in 2008 as an Executive Producer of "Project Runway." He is featured regularly on “Today,” “Morning Joe” and “Joy Behar.” Cohen has cohosted “Live! with Regis and Kelly” and the 10:00am hour of “Today.” He has also been a guest on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “The View.” In 2011 he graced the cover feature for Hamptons Magazine, and was profiled by The New York Times, Glamour Magazine, Vanity Fair and People Magazine. In 2011 he was also featured in TV Guide’s “Hotlist” and OUT’s “Out 100” issue. In 2010 he was profiled by TV Guide Magazine. In 2009 he appeared on the cover of The Advocate and was profiled in New York Magazine, The New York Times, the LA Times, and Entertainment Weekly In June 2010, he was listed as one of TV Guide’s “25 Most Influential People in Television.” OUT Magazine put Cohen on their OUT 100 List in 2008, and named him "hottest blogger of 2006" in their annual "hot" issue and in 2007, Cohen was named one of Multichannel News’ "40 Under 40" innovative and formative executives at work today.
Prior to working at TRIO, Cohen spent 10 years at CBS News as Senior Producer of "The Early Show," overseeing the production of entertainment segments. Cohen also served as a producer for CBS News' "48 Hours" and for "CBS This Morning," where he produced live segments, celebrity profiles and covered breaking news including the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Andrew, the California wildfires, and the crash of TWA Flight 800.
Born in St. Louis, Cohen is a graduate of Boston University where he received a B.A. degree in broadcast journalism. Cohen is currently on the board of directors for charity Friends In Deed and currently resides in New York City.
Dave Serwatka, Vice President of Current & Cross Platform Productions, oversees the production of several Bravo series, as well the development and production of 360 degree content for Bravo Digital Media. Serwatka is also responsible for expanding relevant storylines as added content for Bravotv.com. Serwatka previously held the role of Vice President of Programming and Production, where he served as Executive Producer on several of the network’s most successful series, including the Emmy® Award-winning “Top Chef” franchise. Additionally, Serwatka is currently serving as the Executive Producer on some of the network’s most highly anticipated series including “Around the World in 80 Plates” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
Serwatka’s guidance has been instrumental to the success of “Top Chef,” which has garnered multiple awards including the Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Reality Competition Series” in 2010, the 2011 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards for “Best Food Program” and the 2008 James Beard Award for “Outstanding TV Special.” Most recently, his stewardship of Bravo’s newest Housewife series, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” delivered critical acclaim as it won the first ever Critics' Choice Television Award for “Best Reality Series.” Serwatka joined Bravo in 2004 as Director of Programing and Production, reporting to Andy Cohen. He quickly moved up the ranks and became Vice President of Programming and Production for Bravo in 2004 and has since served as executive producer on “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef Just Desserts” as well as “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” He also executive produced Bravo’s “Top Design,” “The A-List Awards” and “Project Greenlight,” among others.
Prior to joining Bravo, Serwatka worked as a producer, development executive, talent executive and web producer for various networks including, Trio, Comedy Central, HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, HBO Downtown Productions and Shockwave.com. Serwatka graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He currently resides in Hermosa Beach, California.
Executive Vice President, Digital Media, Bravo
Lisa Hsia is Executive Vice President of Bravo Digital Media overseeing Bravo’s digital businesses including Bravotv.com and TelevisionWithoutPity.com as well as Bravo’s initiatives in emerging media – wireless, interactive TV, apps, gaming and multi-platform programming. During her tenure at Bravo, Hsia has built Digital Media into an interactive powerhouse with numerous initiatives that serve to enhance viewer engagement. Her innovations include the Infoframe, the first technology to make both on-air programming and commercials interactive, Bravo Talk Bubble, the first real-time viewing party and social TV event, and Bravo Now, the first tablet and smart phone application that allows fans to participate in a live viewing companion experience.
Bravo Digital has been recognized for numerous awards, including the Technology & Engineering Emmy, Webby, Advertising Age Media Vanguard Award, Mobile Excellence Award, Mobile Marketing Association Award and five Prime Time Emmy nominations for Interactive.
Tom Colicchio spent his childhood immersed in food, cooking with his mother and grandmother. It was his father, however, who suggested that he make a career of it. Tom taught himself to cook with the help of Jacques Pépin’s legendary illustrated manuals on French cooking, La Technique and La Méthode. At age 17, Tom made his kitchen debut in his native town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, at Evelyn’s Seafood Restaurant.
Tom later cooked at prominent New York restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian. During his tenure as executive chef of Mondrian, Food & Wine magazine selected him as one of the top 10 “Best New Chefs” in the U.S. and The New York Times awarded the restaurant three stars.
In July 1994, Tom and his business partner Danny Meyer opened Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. Tom’s cooking at Gramercy Tavern won consistent recognition, garnering three stars from Ruth Reichl of The New York Times and earning him The James Beard Foundation’s 2000 “Best Chef-New York” Award.
In 2001, Tom opened Craft one block south of Gramercy Tavern. Soon after, The New York Times awarded Craft with three stars, deeming the restaurant “a vision of food heaven.” Craft was awarded The James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2002. That same year, Tom received The Bon Appétit American Food and Entertaining Award for “Chef of the Year.” The New York Times revisited Craft in September 2011, ten years after its debut, upholding its three stars and stating that the restaurant is “as magical and delicious as it was when it opened.”
With Craft and its casual sibling, Craftbar, established in New York City, Tom set out to expand his simple, elegant brand of cooking. He has since opened Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (2002), Craftsteak in New York City (2006), Craft in Dallas (2006), Craft and Craftbar in Los Angeles (2007; 2009) and Craftsteak at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods (2008).
Tom opened his first ‘wichcraft – a sandwich shop rooted in the same food and hospitality philosophies as Craft – in New York City in 2003. Today ‘wichcraft has 12 New York City locations, as well as locations at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Westfield Center in San Francisco.
Tom has published three cookbooks to date. The first, Think Like a Chef (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2000), won The James Beard Foundation “KitchenAid” Cookbook Award in May 2001. Tom’s second cookbook, Craft of Cooking, was released by Clarkson Potter/Publishers in 2003. A sandwich book inspired by ‘wichcraft, was released by Clarkson Potter/Publishers in March 2009.
Since 2006, Tom has been applying his experience and expertise to cable television as the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series “Top Chef.” The Emmy-winning show is currently in its 9th season.
In October 2008, Tom opened Tom: Tuesday Dinner. The restaurant, open every other Tuesday, is the embodiment of Tom's earliest ideals: a signature place that defines him, small enough that he can cook straight from the hip, with his hands on each and every plate.
Inspired by his time behind the stove at Tom: Tuesday Dinner, Tom opened Colicchio & Sons in New York in January 2010. He improvises and explores with small-batch ingredients from the micro-producers and family farmers with whom he has forged decades-long relationships. The restaurant has three stars from The New York Times.
In May 2010, Tom was awarded The James Beard Foundation’s coveted “Outstanding Chef” award, the culmination of his 30 years of hard work in the restaurant industry. Tom’s newest restaurant, Riverpark, helmed by Sisha Ortuzar, his partner in ‘wichcraft, opened in September 2010.
Tom regularly appears on local and national television shows, including The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show and ABC’s Nightline. He also continues to be celebrated in food and lifestyle publications such as Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Esquire, GQ and New York Magazine. He consults at the restaurants at The Core Club (NYC), Liberty National Golf Club (Jersey City), Voysey’s and Tides (Kiawah Island, SC), and Doonbeg (Ireland) – all private clubs.
Tom and his restaurants give back to the community by supporting charities including Share Our Strength, Children of Bellevue, City Meals-on-Wheels, City Harvest, Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Healthright International. He lives in the West Village with his wife, Lori Silverbush, and three sons.