With Bravo’s Fab Five making TV history, last week’s historic election of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and June’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay sex, art and life are seeing (queer) eye to eye. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy set another record last week. Episode four on Aug. 5 posted the second-highest numbers (a 2.38 household rating and 2.7 million viewers) in Bravo’s history, topped only by the show’s July 29 telecast. Bravo’s owner knows a good cross-network commodity when it sees one. NBC is again re-airing the show, this time in its original one-hour format, during its Aug. 15 Thursday prime-time comedy block after Will & Grace. Later that night, the Queer Eye cast jumps to The Tonight Show where they’ll outline their plans for Jay Leno, his band, even the set. They’ll return the next night to show America the results of their “make better” approach to late-night TV. Bravo president Jeff Gaspin says he wants to attract the broadest possible audience. “I don’t look at Queer Eye as a gay show,” says Gaspin, who’s ordered another seven episodes. “It’s a makeover show that happens to have five gay men in it.” It’s praised by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, though spokesman Scott Seomin is less taken with its lead-in, Boy Meets Boy. TV’s first gay-themed reality series nabbed 1.2 million viewers in its 9 p.m. time slot Aug. 5. Gaspin says that of the pilots that Bravo had shot before NBC bought the cable network last December, Queer Eye “was the only one that had potential. It had charm, it was different, and it certainly got my attention.” AMC SVP of programming and production Rob Sorcher hopes to generate as much buzz for The AMC Project: Gay Hollywood, an original special running Aug. 11. “We’re in the happy moment of what seems to be the programming trend of the moment,” he says. Showtime, a champion of gay programming with marquee titles such as Queer as Folk, starts running The L Word, an original series about lesbians, in January. Likely to win favor with critics and viewers, would its success revive Viacom’s plans for Outlet, a 24/7 premium gay channel? Howard Buford, CEO of ad agency Prime Access, says with the success of Queer Eye — and with gay and lesbian annual spending power estimated to be $500 billion — the timing is ideal. “We have had great results by crafting almost a ‘gay network buy’ on cable with networks like HGTV and TLC, which have high viewership among women and gay men,” he says. “But there is a real need for…efficient TV programming to help advertisers reach [the gay] demographic.”

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