In its first original-series programming announcement since being purchased by NBC in November, cable network Bravo said yesterday it has ordered "The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
This is the series for all those women who have ever lamented that all the good men are either taken or gay.
Five gay consultants -- experts in personal grooming, fashion, interior design, etiquette and culture, and food and wine -- will "build a better straight man," the network promised.
Jeff Gaspin, executive vice president of programming at NBC and Bravo, told The TV Column that while makeover reality series are very popular, "most makeover shows focus on women and most makeover shows don't really celebrate the sexual orientation of the 'transformers.' "
"Queer Eye," Gaspin said, "has a very positive message, it's fun to watch, it's easy to watch, it's a very likable concept and has enough of an edge to . . . belong on Bravo."
"On Bravo?" said one incredulous suit at another network when informed of the order.
Yes, Bravo has been ordering edgier foreign movies of late, and "Larry Sanders" reruns appear on the network largely unedited. Still, it is not the hippest of networks -- half of its audience is 50 or older.
"Just because Bravo skews old doesn't mean that's where we want it to skew long-term," Gaspin said.
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" debuts in July. Gaspin doesn't rule out the idea of moving the show to NBC should it succeed.
Benjamin Curtis -- the Artist Formerly Known as Steven, the Dell Computer Guy -- got busted Sunday night in New York on a marijuana possession charge.
"Dell Dude in Pot Bust" screamed the headline on the Smoking Gun Web site yesterday. "Dell Dude Arrest" blared the Associated Press story.
The 22-year-old New York University drama student was nabbed on New York's Lower East Side after police officers on a drug detail spotted him buying a small bag of pot from a 19-year-old. Curtis was arraigned yesterday on a misdemeanor drug possession charge.
A spokesman for Texas-based Dell said no decision has been made on Curtis's future promoting the company, which is odd since it already had moved on to ads featuring a whole pack of really annoying computer geeks touring a Dell plant somewhere.
"We are following the situation and really trying to understand what happened here," Venancio Figueroa told reporters.
Hello -- you turned him into imbecilic Steven, the Dell Computer Guy, and made him churn out an endless stream of really annoying computer ads -- that's what happened.
Michael Davies, producer of ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," is developing a reality special for WB in collaboration with Pepsi, in which the winner could snag a billion dollars.
News of the show or, more accurately, the prize money ensured coverage yesterday in the mainstream media. But Pepsi apparently is confident enough that the finalist will not actually win a billion dollars that it thinks it can get an insurer to offset its risk.
To qualify for the show, you must purchase a marked Pepsi product this summer, which is sure to result in a billion dollars' worth of Pepsi sales.
Details on the show, first reported in trade paper Variety, were sketchy, except that 1,000 contestants will be weeded out via a game of nerve.
If you missed "Living With Michael Jackson" last week on ABC, you're in luck. Viacom-owned cable network VH1 will rerun it Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.
Oddly, VH1 has no plans to promote the fact that it secured the rerun rights to the much-in-the-news documentary. When asked why, a network rep declined to comment.
Meanwhile, the pop singer has authorized release of video footage taken by his personal cameraman during the shooting of the Granada Television documentary to counter what he called a misleading and unfair program. In a statement issued on Sunday by a London public relations company, Jackson said these video excerpts were taken in the eighth, and last, month of British journalist Martin Bashir's shooting -- after Jackson had dangled his baby over the fourth-floor balcony of a Berlin hotel. Bashir said that it was in Berlin that he began to change his mind about Jackson's treatment of his children.
ABC is dumping its long-delayed military "reality" series into its worst time slot, the night after the February sweeps ends.
"Profiles From the Front Line," which was ordered a year ago, will debut on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m.
ABC said yesterday that the series "puts viewers side-by-side with U.S. special operations forces in the war on terrorism." The network had already cut back to just six episodes the order on the series, which was produced by "Top Gun" and "CSI" producer Jerry Bruckheimer and "Cops" producer Bertram van Munster.
"Profiles" was one of three military-based nonfiction TV series in the works a year ago, when networks were struggling in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks to attract viewers to what was considered the fast-fading genre of reality TV.
VH1 ordered a series called "Military Diaries" from R.J. Cutler, whose credits include the political documentary "The War Room," in which digital cameras were provided to soldiers.
CBS had already ordered its series, "American Fighter Pilot," before the 9/11 attacks but it was reworked and debuted on March 29, 2002.
Both were quickly canceled due to poor ratings.
"Profiles" caused a ruckus when it was first announced. News execs complained that ABC's entertainment division was getting access that news divisions were not. Others suggested that the show, on which the Pentagon had pre-screening rights, would be propaganda. The producers dismissed those concerns at the time.
Yesterday ABC said the series "was produced with the full cooperation of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, [and] offers a greater perspective on who these patriots are, the risks they are taking, why they have committed themselves in defense of their country and how that commitment has altered their lives and the lives of their families."