'Queer Eye’ for the Naked Guy
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ran into a daunting challenge last week while shooting an episode for the summer season. How do you make over a nudist? Clotheshorse Carson Kressley could have been expected to throw up his hands over the fortysomething Mr. Natural from New Jersey, but Carson didn’t end up just urging a trip to an electrolysis center and calling it a day. After all, even a nudist must dress for trips to the post office and supermarket. “Linens and loose-fitting drawstring pants that are easily shed-able,” suggests Bravo’s VP of Production and Programming Andrew Cohen. The episode presented hurdles for editors, too. The naked guy’s naughty bits will be blurred with “unobtrusive” pixelation, Cohen says, adding that the fab five might doff their carefully chosen wardrobes as they “get into the nudist’s lifestyle.” Somehow, that wouldn’t be a shock. The season starts June 7 with a makeover of the Boston Red Sox. (Why that red? It’s awfully maraschino, isn’t it? How about claret, or coral?)
Meanwhile, in other Bravo fashion news…The hundreds of designers who flocked to the Project Runway casting call in New York City last week will have some consolation if they’re not chosen: The hit show (up 468%, to more than 2 million viewers, over the course of its first season this winter) is considering cobbling together footage from the tryouts, which were also held in Los Angeles, Miami and Houston, for American Idol-style audition episodes. Careful, Heidi Klum, don’t get too Idolesque with your show, or Primetime Live may come snooping. Reality Check
Where can a production company turn when it needs to find just the right reality-TV contestant? The same place where Flash! scored a sublet apartment and a used, slightly scratched iPod: Craigslist.org. Our recent trolling of the New York and Los Angeles branches of the online classified-ad service found casting calls for ABC’s upcoming Fix My Husband (“looking for wives who want to spruce up their hubbies”) and TBS’ Loser Leaves Town (in which feuding neighbors battle for the right to remain on the block), as well as FX’s 30 Days (an apartment-sharing saga from Super Size Me star Morgan Spurlock and The War Room documentarian R.J. Cutler).
Of course, the definition of “reality TV” can get a little, well, unrealistic. One Craigs­list ad urges, “Think Girls Gone Wild meets Fear Factor, serious only please!” Another isn’t looking so much for serious-only applicants as for seriously musky. “The guys will go thru [sic] several different situations to see if you have what it takes to make it in the porn industry,” says an ad for a “reality program” that claims it’s slated for a winter 2006 cable premiere. Then there’s the show touting itself as “the equivalent of American Idol for beautiful nude women,” adding helpfully, “Nudity a must.” These aren’t likely to show up on television until someone has pried the remote control from the FCC’s cold, dead hand.
Interview Déjà Vu
Like any network, CNBC is proud of its scoops, proclaiming an interview “First on CNBC” when its producers score a good CEO or government official. The problem is that it’s not always true.
On April 26, CNBC scored a live interview with Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign-policy advisor to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah, touting the conversation as “First on CNBC.” Al-Jubeir was accompanying Abdullah on a U.S. trip that included a meeting with President Bush.
But CNBC wasn’t first. If you had been flipping the dial earlier, you would have seen Al-Jubeir much earlier that day, on Fox News. The “First on CNBC” interview was at 4:45 p.m. ET; the Saudi official was on Your World With Neil Cavuto at 4:10 p.m.
Execs at rival networks have noticed this kind of overselling in the past. A CNBC spokesman says producers use “exclusive” or “first” graphics only after asking interview subjects or handlers if they’ve appeared on any other network during that particular news cycle. A Fox News spokesman dismissed CNBC and its low Nielsen ratings: “You can pretty much get away with anything when no one’s watching.”
We found it strange that NBC News’ No. 2, Bill Wheatley, was promoted from VP to executive VP after he announced he was retiring in June. Then we recalled that NBC had upped MSNBC VP Phil Griffin to NBC News senior VP in the Today show shake-up. In title, Griffin would be Wheatley’s superior. Obviously, NBC News wanted Wheatley—one of our favorite news executives—to go out on the right note.