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Bravo Hops in the Reality Show Genre

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In some quarters this could be called “Fear Factor”: The latest entry in the TV reality show game, according to Monday’s New York Times, will be a show called “The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” The program, a possibility for the Bravo cable network’s fall schedule, would follow the makeover of what the casting call describes as a “crude and uncultured” heterosexual into “a hip and happening Renaissance man at the hands of five fabulously trendy gay men . . . Queer, yes, camp not necessary.” (Showtime Networks has already announced that it is developing an entire cable channel devoted to gay and lesbian programming.) Already, notes The Times, there are critics of “The Queer Eye.” “It’s obvious to say that this would cause concern about stereotypical representation,” Cathy Renna, news media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told the paper. Not necessarily, replies a spokesperson for Bravo. “I guess there’s an undercurrent of stereotyping because the essential premise is that we’ll take five gay men who have style and one straight man who doesn’t,” Bravo senior vice president of programming Frances Berwick said to The Times. “But I think that’s where the stereotyping ends.” Ed Peselman, creative director of the company producing the show, added to the Times: “As a straight man myself, I can tell you there are a lot of comedic elements in making fun of straight guys.”