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TV Show 'Queer Eye' Smash Ratings Hit for Bravo

July 17, 2003

The premiere episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," in which five gay men with expertise in fashion, food, grooming, culture and design remake a straight man, set new ratings records for cable channel Bravo, the network said on Wednesday.

Citing data from Nielsen Media Research, Bravo said the show's Tuesday debut at 10 p.m. ET set new records for the NBC-owned network among total viewers, households, audiences aged 18-49, and audiences aged 25-54.

The 18-49 demographic is most favored by advertisers as their core audience, while some networks rely on the 25-54 audience as a more mature target group.

Bravo said the show attracted 1.64 million total viewers, which made it the No. 2 ad-supported cable network during the hour. Bravo had previously ranked No. 38 in that hour for the season to date.

Bravo said the show's ratings were nine times better than last season's average in audiences 25-54 and more than seven times better than its average in calendar year to date.

While the show has generated significant buzz, it also garnered some critical reviews. In Tuesday's Washington Post, leading TV critic Tom Shales questioned whether the show was too patronizing.

"Forced to choose between scorn and condescension, gay people could hardly be blamed for preferring the latter -- and thus might not object to the stereotypes on parade in the series, which each week dispatches five New York gay men to rescue some poor, style-starved straight person at a crossroads in his life," he said in his column.

Bravo is preparing for the July 29 debut of "Boy Meets Boy," another gay-themed show, in which a bachelor chooses a prospective match-up from a group of eligible men. The twist, however, is that some of the men are actually straight, leaving the bachelor to try and sort out who's who.

Bravo and NBC are units of General Electric Co.