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Straight to the Top

Oct 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

They’re gay, he’s straight. They’re stylish, he’s not. That’s the premise behind the Bravo Channel and NBC’s cable hit, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” a show that premiered in July and during the course of its first season went from a ratings ho-hum of 1.6 in Bravo homes to a 3.3 on its second-to-last airing of the season.
The show was one of seven pilots pitched in January 2003 by Bravo to its new owner, NBC, and, according to Bravo President Jeff Gaspin, was the only pilot the network “sparked” to.
“We wanted to put on a show that would get people talking about Bravo,” Mr. Gaspin said. “And this show surpassed our expectations. It grew its audience by 100 percent during its 11-week run.”
Paired on Tuesday nights with the gay dating show “Boy Meets Boy,” “Queer Eye” not only has people around the water coolers talking but also has become a crossover hit among viewers 18 to 49. That’s an unexpected bonus for Bravo and NBC, which has aired selected encore episodes of “Queer Eye.”
“It hits that demo like a bull’s-eye,” Mr. Gaspin said. “It attracts both men and women almost equally, and what’s even more astonishing is how upscale the audience is.”
During the course of a one-hour prime-time show, five gay hipmeisters-Kyan Douglas, Ted Allen, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez and Thom Filicia, better known as the Fab Five-do a life makeover for some regular Joe. The comic barbs and cheeky innuendoes fly freely during the makeover as the five redecorate, exfoliate and ameliorate with saucy gusto.
NBC also began airing the program, albeit only occasionally. It has aired “Queer Eye” three times so far. Mr. Gaspin admitted that the network had to institute some minor format changes, altering or deleting some of the sexual innuendo for NBC audiences. “But the changes have been very few,” he said.
The future looks rosy for the Fab Five, with the show currently in production on season two … well, not exactly season two.
“It’s really just a continuation of its current season that was on back order,” Mr. Gaspin said. “What we want is to be in continuous production of this show.”
That means 10 weeks on, then a few weeks off, then eight weeks on and so on. “The goal is to do as many as 40 original shows per year,” Mr. Gaspin said.
Now that’s fab!
Queer Eye
Network: Bravo
Premiere date: July 15, 2003
Production company: Scout Productions
Time slot: Tuesday, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET)
Cast: Kyan Douglas, Ted Allen, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez, Thom Filicia
Credits: David Collins and Michael Williams, executive producers, Scout; Francis Berwick, Amy Introcaso-Davis and Christian Barcellos, executive producers, Bravo; David Metzler, co-executive producer; David Collins, series creator; David Metzler, creator and developer
Name that hair gel: A lot of product placement happens on the show, but Bravo President Jeff Gaspin said it’s unintentional. “The guys use the products they would use anyway and often they get these products as trade-outs,” he said. “This is not advertiser product placement, but rather a natural integration.”