Bravo network to match gay men in dating show

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

— The Bravo cable network is going where no television dating show has gone before: matchmaking gay men.

"Boy Meets Boy," a six-episode series that will premiere in July, also twists reality show conventions by secretly including straight men among the pool of dating prospects.

No dating show, from "Blind Date" to "The Bachelor," has promoted same-sex unions, said Scott Seomin, entertainment media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It appears "Boy Meets Boy" will handle it in a lighthearted, nonexploitive way, he said.

The show is being made by a gay producer, reality veteran Douglas Ross of Evolution Film & Tape, Inc.

Already, the Traditional Values Coalition plans to alert its 43,000 member churches to protest the series, said Andrea Lafferty, the Washington-based group's executive director.

"Clearly, they've hit a new low," Lafferty said. "What's next after 'Boy Meets Boy'? 'Boy Meets Sheep'?"

Bravo has scheduled gay-themed programming in the past, airing the "Out of the Closet" film festival for several years, Seomin said.

"Boy Meets Boy," with Dani Behr of "Extra" as host, will feature a gay leading man choosing from 15 potential suitors. Midway, he will be told that some of his potential dates are actually heterosexual. He won't be told which ones, of course, and Ross is still debating at which point viewers will be let in on the secret.

"We have created a gay world where the straight guys are in the closet," he said.

If one of the straight men is chosen at the end, he wins a cash prize. If the leading man chooses another gay man, the lead character wins the prize and an expense-paid vacation, he said.

"We really wanted to attract the straight population," Ross said. "By adding in this twist, we thought it would bring in a larger audience and would challenge the notions of all of our viewers -- both gay and straight."