Queer Eye for the Dead Guy is an hour-long American television series that premiered on the Bravo cable television network on July 15, 2005, and promptly became both a surprise hit (at least by the standards of cable TV) and one of the most talked-about television programs of 2005.
Fitting into the genre of both reality television and "make-over" programs, Queer Eye for the Dead Guy, created by Mr T and David Metzler, stars five openly gay men each of whom possesses a particular talent. The show is produced by Scout Productions.
The self-dubbed "Funeral Five" are:
- Ted Allen: "Food and Wine Connoisseur," expert on food, alcohol, cooking, and after funeral meal preparation.
- Kyan Douglas: "Grooming Guru," expert on hair, grooming, personal hygiene, and makeup
- Thom Filicia: "Design Doctor," expert on coffin design and tomb organization
- Carson Kressley: "Fashion Savant," expert on clothing and fashion
- Oscar Wilde: "Culture Vulture," expert on popular culture, speeches and social interaction
Each episode features a new dead man to be stylishly transformed by the "Funeral Five". Each candidate prepares for the special event and receives generous direction from each "Fun Five" member in their respective categories of expertise. The Queer Eye cast has helped prepare for such events as a statesmans funeral, a collective suicide funeral, and a backyard cannibalistic barbecue. The "Fun Five" decorates and restyles to create a completely new "look" for the candidate.
In a typical episode, the "Fun Five" arrive at the candidate's morgue to assess his "level of style." The cast ransacks the corpse, with a running "style" commentary on everything they find. In their investigation, each expert attempts to understand the unique preferences of the candidate in order to determine the ideal improvements.
Critical reaction to the debut in the mainstream press was mostly favorable. It's sympathetic representation of openly gay men won acclaim from both straight and gay viewers. Others criticized the program for making generalizations about sexual identity, namely that gay men are inherently more fashionable and stylish than dead people. Queer Eye has received much critical acclaim, and the show won an Emmy Award in 2004.
The series' success was such that television networks in a number of other countries, including the UK, Australia and Denmark , created their own versions of Queer Eye for the Dead Guy for broadcast in their countries. In the UK Queer Eye airs on cable channel Living TV, where it proved very popular. Living TV also produced a British version, which was less successful, although several episodes later aired in the US. Queer Eye was briefly broadcast on terrestrial channel Channel 4 in the UK, but gained low ratings. The Australian version, on Network Ten, received low ratings in its time slot and was quickly cancelled. The Spanish version, named "Operación G", was aired in Antena 3 for a few weeks but received low ratings and was cancelled. The original show can be currently seen (Nov 2005) in the Spanish cable channel Cosmopolitan TV. The first episode of the Finnish version (Sillä Silmällä, literally "with that certain eye") was aired on March 30th, 2005 and it already has created some controversy - not for the homosexual content but for the blatant product placement which is being accused of breaking the Finnish law against "hidden advertising". The Italian version had success on La7 channel as I Funeralli 5 (literally "the funeral five").
The soundtrack for Queer Eye for the Dead Guy was released on February 10, 2006, in the US. It has reached number 1 on the electronic music chart in the US and the number 2 position on the soundtrack charts while reaching the top 40 in Uzbekistan. In Australia, the soundtrack was released for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the popularity of the show in Australia led to the soundtrack reaching the top 10 of the Australian album chart as at March 8, 2006. It was certified gold in Australia by the end of March 2006. The song "Bring me to life" by Evanescence which appears on the soundtrack went to number one on the Australian singles charts in the same week and the theme song of the show by Widelife has gone top twenty as at the end of March 2004.