"Queer Eye" Spies More Eps

50 minutes ago
By Lia Haberman

So many sloppy straight guys, so little time.

In an effort to continue overhauling unstylish heteros, boost ratings and make more coin, Bravo is thisclose to renewing Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for a whopping 40 episodes, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The NBC-owned cable net, which launched a 13-episode run of the show in July, is currently in negotiations with Scout Productions, which created the make-better series.

Already, Bravo has reportedly placed an order for at least seven more episodes, expected to go into production next week.

"We won't be shutting off the Queer Eye production engine for quite a while," co-creator and executive producer David Collins told the trade. (Insert maniacal laugh and rubbing of hands.)

However, producers are likely to find style doesn't come cheap. At least not when renegotiating with the show's quintet of taste-makers, the Fab Five. It's no secret that the show's breakout stars were originally signed for pitifully low paychecks.

Just this month, the Smoking Gun Website published a talent contract that indicated the Fabbers were only receiving $3,000 per episode and couldn't expect to earn more than a 5 percent increase for any additional seasons. The five were signed for six consecutive one-year contracts.

Now, Carson Kressley, Kyan Douglas, Ted Allen, Thom Filicia and Jai Rodriguez have banded together with their respective agents and to renegotiate their contracts to include a substantial pay hike from Bravo and Scout.

The players have changed since Scout first brought Queer Eye to Bravo. At that time, the network was owned by Rainbow Media Holdings. Then NBC bought the cable net last November. Now, Scout and the Queer Eye five find themselves dealing with a company with considerably more resources.

NBC's own relationship with the show's producers is still being negotiated. The Peacock is reportedly working out a deal, seperate from Bravo's, with Scout to repurpose Queer Eye episodes in prime time.

Already, two episodes have aired on the broadcast network to strong ratings. And earlier this month, NBC prez Jeff Zucker said he intends to raise Queer Eye's exposure with future airings on NBC, but he emphasized that the show wouldn't air weekly to avoid diluting Bravo's most important franchise.

In the past 11 weeks, Queer Eye has consistently broken ratings records for the cable net, averaging close to 2.5 million viewers on Tuesday nights, with additional audience tuning in to reruns. The show has also been sold into syndication to Britain, Iceland, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Queer Eye's stylish stars have been interviewed by Oprah, taped guest appearances on The Tonight Show and Good Morning, Miami, made cameos at the MTV Video Music Awards and walked Emmy's red carpet last week.

The renewal comes just as the original 13 episodes finish their run. Queer Eye is expected to go into reruns while production begins on the next batch of makeovers, scheduled to air in November.

Then, the show is expected to go on hiatus before returning with original episodes in February 2004.

Barring salary disputes, fans should expect to see the cast intact. Nor will producers mess with the show's popular format. However, they do plan to turn the Queer Eye toward the rest of the country, leaving New York in future episodes for Texas and the Midwest.