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Showtime preps ‘Queer’ line

Merchandise will be sold online, mainstream retailers

Showtime and 10% Prods. are teaming up to merchandize the cabler’s most-viewed program, “Queer as Folk.”

First product line will include calendars, T-shirts and pull-apart phrase magnets with phrases such as “I want you,” and “de-lish” as well as more ribald words. Merchandise will be sold online and at mainstream retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

“We think the show has a devoted fan base that is voracious about the characters,” said Sallie Fraenkel, the cabler’s senior veep of program entertainment and distribution. “Since we have the merchandizing rights, we decided, why not.”

Indeed, the DVD series from the gay-themed show has sold more than 100,000 copies in stores.

Forthcoming campaign will be waged through a Web site, print ads and direct mail.

According to Fraenkel, however, no production numbers for the line have been officially set as yet. Cabler is waiting for reaction from this week’s New York Stationery Show, where the line is bowing.