Netflix is rebooting the groundbreaking series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, EW has learned exclusively.
The former Bravo hit makeover reality show is being “reimagined” with a very topical mission: “In a time when America stands divided and the future seems uncertain, a team of five brave men will try to bring us closer together with laughter, heart, and just the right amount of moisturizer,” reads a statement from the producers. “The Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye is back and ready to Make America Fabulous Again. With a new Fab 5 and the show’s toughest missions to date, Queer Eye moves from the Big Apple to turn the Red States pink — one makeover at a time.”
The original Bravo version of the series ran from 2003-2007 and featured a “Fab Five” of savvy New York style experts giving head-to-toe makeovers to hapless straight men at a crossroads in their lives. While the Netflix edition is casting for a new Fab Five, we hear show’s original cast might also have some involvement. Eight initial episodes have been ordered from the show’s original series creator David Collins from Scout Productions along with executive producing partners Michael Williams, Rob Eric and ITV Entertainment’s David Eilenberg.
Queer Eye was a surprise hit that helped spark a surge of other types of makeover shows across basic cable and spawned other versions of the Queer Eye format all over the world.
As EW once wrote: “In a funny yet tender variation on the ubiquitous self-improvement-through-products genre, Queer Eye has managed to unearth a virgin makeover-market niche in basic cable. In doing so, it has slyly upended conventional notions (or what were once conventional notions, anyway) about male desirability. Suddenly, gay guys taunted on the playground for their interest in ‘girl things’ are using these skills to help their tormentors — and ironically, are ridiculing their subjects in the process.”
Queer Eye generally drew heavy praise for its positive portrayal of a uniquely all-gay cast in a mainstream show. GLAAD honored the series with an Outstanding Reality Program award for its 2004 and 2005 seasons. Queer Eye even won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2004. The show also had a short-lived spinoff, Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.
“Queer Eye impacted LGBT representation on TV in that it was the strongest, if not the first, representation of LGBT people bringing their special talents to the table and making a positive impact in straight people’s lives,” Logo executive Marc Leonard noted to EW in 2013. “We saw these strong, colorful personalities embraced for their unique abilities. This is a markedly different take compared to most prior representations of gays on TV that featured LGBT people living solely in isolated gay worlds.”
There are few details about how the streaming version will be updated from Bravo’s original — other than shifting from New York to “red states.” The project marks Netflix ramping up its efforts in the reality space; the streaming service also has its first unscripted competition series, an obstacle course show titled The Ultimate Beastmaster, coming Feb. 24.