- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2004

‘Queer’ malaise?

Are the style-obsessed stars of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” now — gasp — as unhip as white jeans after Labor Day?

Barely a year after the Bravo series exploded into a full-blown phenomenon, its ratings indicate that “Eye” is no longer the cultural behemoth it was just a short time ago, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Viewership for first-run episodes plummeted during the summer by about 40 percent versus a year ago in the NBC Universal-owned cable network’s target demographic, viewers 25 to 54, as well as 18 to 49. The Sept. 7 new episode drew 804,000 in the latter demographic — its second-lowest yet.

Blame overexposure or the tiny window allotted for pop-culture hits in a society traveling at broadband speeds — or plain old-fashioned competition. The show’s 10 p.m. Tuesday slot puts it in the line of fire of FX’s “Nip/Tuck” and TBS’ “Sex and the City” reruns.

“It’s a pretty stiff decline,” Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at media-buying agency Horizon Media, told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a little surprising because you would think the halo effect of having the Olympics on Bravo would help it, too.”

But with “Eye” still the network’s top-rated series and with an Emmy nomination to its credit, Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick believes the series has already proved its worth by putting the network on the map and paving the way for the next generation of Bravo originals.

“The strategy for ‘Eye’ was a very sound one: to take Bravo from nowhere to somewhere,” Miss Zalaznick said. ” ‘Eye’ is going to live a long, healthy life.”

And if not, we’ll always have the memories — and the extra bottles of skin moisturizer in our medicine cabinets.

‘Wire’ reconnects

It’s premiere night on HBO Sunday as the busy cable network returns its acclaimed drama “The Wire” to its schedule along with a new reality show about bail bondsmen.

The new season of “The Wire,” which gets only a fraction of the ink of HBO’s signature shows such as “The Sopranos” but plenty of respect, anchors an evolving Sunday lineup, which just lost the buddy comedy “Entourage.”

That new show, which earned a speedy renewal early in its run, broadcast its last fresh episode of the season Sunday.

“The Wire” airs at 9 p.m.

Joining the expanding HBO family an hour later is “Family Bonds,” a reality television look at a family of bail bondsmen and bounty hunters.

The 10-part series takes us into the unique situations their professions put them in. The show, directed by filmmaker Steven Cantor (“Devil’s Playground”) debuts at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Attell inks deal

Fox isn’t losing any sleep over signing comic Dave Attell to a sitcom deal.

Mr. Attell, the star of Comedy Central’s “Insomniac,” is the next edgy comic looking to find sitcom glory, Reuters News Agency reports.

“He is quite simply one of the funniest people on the planet,” Marcia Shulman, Fox’s executive vice president for casting, told Reuters. “He has a very specific point of view, he is really funny, very edgy, has a huge following that cuts across all age groups, and it’s really a no-brainer for Fox.”

Given his writing background on “Insomniac” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” it’s possible that Mr. Attell would be involved in the development and writing of his starring vehicle.

In addition to “Insomniac,” Mr. Attell also appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” and lent his voice to the channel’s “Crank Yankers.”

His credits also include his own specials for Comedy Central and HBO and the feature film “Pootie Tang.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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