NBC-owned Bravo will court viewers this summer with American television's first primetime gay-themed reality dating series.
Similar in format to ABC's "The Bachelor," "Boy Meets Boy" features an eligible man looking for love in a pool of 15 potential mates. But in a twist worthy of the bogus baron on Fox's "Joe Millionaire," some of the suitors are actually heterosexual men who were paid by the program to pretend to be gay -- unbeknownst to the eligible bachelor.
"I think this will be truly groundbreaking television," said series executive producer and co-creator Douglas Ross. "One of the reasons we decided to take the basic dating format and throw in this twist is that we wanted the show to appeal to a broader audience."
The six-episode "Boy" will premiere on Bravo in July at a date and time to be determined. In each episode, the bachelor will interact with the other men on group and one-on-one dates and gradually eliminate those he isn't interested in until one winner remains.
While the actual sexual orientation of at least one contestant will be disclosed at the outset to viewers -- but not the bachelor -- the identity of some of the others will not be revealed until the bachelor himself finds out. The exact number of heterosexual suitors was not divulged by Bravo, nor was the sum the network paid.
Any sexual intimacy beyond kissing was strictly prohibited on "Boy," which was shot from May 9-17 in a pair of homes in Palm Springs.
The bachelor was identified as a 32-year-old from southern California who works in the human resources division of a law firm. "Boy" is hosted by Dani Behr ("Extra").
Ross believes "Boy" is a fun but serious sociological exploration of male stereotypes that enlightened the show's participants and will do the same for viewers.
"Several of the straight men have very intense experiences," he said, declining to divulge specific behavior. "We anticipate a lot of both gay and straight viewers will have their assumptions challenged about what it means to be gay and what it means to be straight."
Homosexual dating has been featured in segments on several syndicated dating series, but there has never been an exclusively gay dating series in primetime.
Bravo has explored gay themes in past programming including "Gay Weddings," which was also produced by Ross' Evolution Film & Tape banner. Another new series coming to the cable network's schedule in July is "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," which follows a team of gay males as they counsel fashion-challenged straight men.
In other Bravo programming news, a batch of new specials will premiere in July and August. "The 34th Annual Songwriter's Hall of Fame" will be broadcast for the second consecutive year on Bravo, with honorees including Clive Davis, Van Morrison and Little Richard. "Songwriter" airs July 9 at 9 p.m.
On July 27, the two-hour documentary "Singing in the Shadows: The Children of Rock Royalty" profiles the struggling progeny of such acclaimed musicians as Carly Simon and James Taylor, Ozzy Osbourne, Arlo Guthrie, John Lennon and Aretha Franklin.
On Aug. 24, "Desilu" examines how the professional and personal lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz intersected. Another two-hour special, "The Animated Century," chronicles 100 years of cartoon films ranging from Disney classics to Japanese anime.