'Real Housewives of Atlanta' preview bits from Derek J ('Fashion Queens'), Andy Cohen

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" are upon us again Sunday for a seventh season.

I spoke with Derek J, part of the weekly fashionista talk show "Fashion Queens" and hairstylist to  Kandi Burruss, and Bravo "housewives" commander in chief and "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen in advance of the season.

Here are bits I got from Derek J:

Doing commentary: "It's a whole lot better than doing reality! It's fun!

Best dressed "Housewife": "Kim Zolciak was always the one who kept up with the latest. Now NeNe has rolled into that position."

What will Demetria McKinney be like: "She's really going to be a fashion girl."

Claudia Jordan? "She isn't as much of a fashion girl."

Most thoughtful about what she wears: "Cynthia Bailey. Her looks have meaning behind them."

Prep work: He watched "Fashion Police" to learn how fashion commentary worked. And he was happy to meet Joan Rivers once before she died.

His role on "Fashion Queens":  "I don't want to slam people right away. The only thing that irks me is when people put on things because their stylist tells them to and they're not confident about it. They don't believe in the outfit."

Worst dressed of late: "Rita Ora. For awhile, she wasn't getting it right. More recently, she has found her lane."

Best dressed: Rihanna and J. Lo

Why he's grateful for "Fashion Queens": "It's way more important than just fashion. It's the fact three not-the-average beauties get to host a show about fashion, that's amazing. It gives a lot of people hope."

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

I don't want to slam people right awaygave me some quick RHOA answers before he came into town November 15 for what I hear is a sold-out talk (Mara Davis moderating) at the Marcus Jewish Community Center annual book festival for his new book "The Andy Cohen Diaries." (I will post the rest of the interview next week.)

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Cohen tends not to elaborate in interviews like this but here's what I got:

Why RHOA remains so popular: "I think it's just the bull's eye. It's funny. It's real. It's raw drama. The women are fun to watch. All that combined makes it kind of combustible."

Will banning props prevent any more Porsha/Kenya dust ups? "I hope so."

Why was Porsha demoted: "We had planned for her to be a full housewife. But when you're deep into the show looking at what you have from each woman, you have to make some decisions. She's still in almost every episode. If you're a Porsha fan, you'll get plenty of Porsha. I love her."

A Porsha spin-off rumor: "I had not heard that." [He didn't say outright it wasn't true but I doubt it.]

Why Claudia Jordan as full-time housewife? "We approached her. She's a friend of Kenya's. She had just moved into town for Rickey Smiley. She's strong. She's smart. She's funny. She's got her own thing going on. She's independent."

Why Demetria McKinney in supporting role? "She's got a good story and she's fun to watch."

Why Claudia was moved up to full time and Demetria down to supporting when the original intention was the other way around? "Like Porsha, you look and see what you've got. Your plans don't always work out the way you thought they were going to be."

Apollo/Phaedra situation: "I feel bad for everybody. It's tough."

Hopes for a NeNe/Cynthia reconciliation: "I hope so. I like them together."

Reaction to Kandi's spin-off doing so well: "It's not surprising because it was incredibly compelling. There's the perfect storm. There's inherent drama in a wedding and all that stuff with her family and his family."

Will Kim Zolciak spinoff be back? [Not yet.] "The show was very successful. We're always talking to them. I love Kim."

 TV preview

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta," 8 p.m. Sunday, starting Nov. 9, Bravo

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