TV Article

The 'Eye' Has It

''Queer Eye'' goes national, gets bigger paychecks. Bravo orders three more seasons and looks to send the Fab Five to makeover hapless guys throughout the U.S.

At an Emmy party over the weekend, the Fab Five from ''Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'' were heard ''grumbling'' (according to the New York Post) about how little they're earning for having provided Bravo with the biggest hit series in the cable channel's history. The style guru quintet may dispute reports of such tacky behavior, but in any case, they won't have to complain much longer. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show's producers are renegotiating with Bravo for an additional order of 40 more episodes (the equivalent of three seasons) and substantial raises for the five makeover mavens.

The group's salaries, made public when Blair Boone (the Fab Five's Pete Best, fired and replaced by Jai Rodriguez in the culture-guy slot just before the show became a hit this summer) sued the producers for breach of contract, are just $3,000 per person per episode, with a locked-in raise of just 5 percent per season for six years. ''They got us cheap,'' cuisine guy Ted Allen told the Philadelphia Inquirer this week. ''I don't resent it. I went into this with my eyes wide open. I was grateful for the chance. I was a nobody who didn't have leverage to demand a lot of money.''

Now, however, he does. Taking a page from the ''Friends'' playbook, the quintet negotiated as one, and all will receive salary bumps beyond what their contracts call for, according to the Reporter. (Terms have not been disclosed.) An additional deal is in the works with Bravo parent NBC to cover the group's increasingly frequent crossover appearances on the broadcast network.

With the show's renewal will come a change that should have fans nationwide rejoicing: In future episodes, the Fab Five will travel beyond New York to give makeovers to hapless heteros across the U.S. Allen, for one, says he'd also like to see the group advise more than just straight guys. ''There are probably just as many gay guys who could use style help as there are straight guys,'' he says.

Originally posted Sep 26, 2003