UPN pictures 'Pretty' as Fox goes 'Straight'
UPN thinks Bruce Nash looks “Awfully Pretty,” while Fox has set a date to start “Playing It Straight.”With season two of “America’s Next Top Model” earning boffo ratings — resulting in Friday’s announcement that the skein will return for a third and fourth cycle — UPN is stepping up its unscripted development. Having already greenlit “The Player” and its untitled Amish-in-the-city project, net is now actively developing “Awfully Pretty” with Nash Entertainment. One-hour weekly series will follow a group of men who are transformed into women by their wives or girlfriends. The men will live together in a house and be forced to live as women 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to Nash, the players will be put into various scenarios where they’ll learn what it’s like to live as a woman. Contestants who don’t get the hang of posing as the opposite gender will be eliminated, one by one. “There will be funny moments, but this is really an experiment to see what it’s like to be a woman,” Nash said. “They’ll live in some sort of chick pad, watch ‘Dr. Phil,’ take the Cosmo quiz and make sure they don’t keep the toilet seat up.” Nash said he came up with the idea after looking over one of the American Film Institute’s list of 100 great movies — and realized several films included cross-dressing plotlines (“Some Like It Hot,” “Tootsie,” “Mrs. Doubtfire”). “Movies are a great place to look for reality ideas, particularly romantic comedies,” he said. “Movies where guys are dressing up and pretending to be women are funny. Why not see how it would work on a reality show?” CAA-repped Nash (“For Love or Money,” “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?”) will exec produce. As for “Top Model,” last week’s episode ranked as UPN’s third-most-watched broadcast among women 18-34, while shattering several other network records. Ken Mok and Tyra Banks are exec producers. Over at Fox, net has slotted the Lion TV-produced “Playing It Straight” for Fridays at 8 p.m., starting March 12. Skein, set at the Sizzling Saddles dude ranch in Elko, Nev., revolves around a single woman named Jackie who attempts to make a love connection by choosing from a pool of single men — some of whom are actually gay. It’s been in the works since last summer and was filmed under the cover title “Who Will She Choose?” (Daily Variety, Aug. 20.) “This show turned out terrifically,” Fox reality kingpin Mike Darnell said. “It’s intense and emotional and funny all at the same time. It sort of breaks stereotypes, which I like.” Darnell said Jackie has a tough time figuring out who’s gay and who’s not, and predicted viewers will be stumped, too. “The straight men are playing it normal and the gay men went through some training,” he said. “Some really fool you. It’s emotionally draining for the star.” If a straight man is the last man remaining at show’s end, the couple splits $1 million. If the last dude on the ranch is gay, he gets the coin. Jeremy Mills and Ciara Byrne of WMA-repped Lion are exec producers.