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Fox date shooting straight?

Skein could be cover for 'Joe' part deux

Call it “Straight Eye for the Queer Guy.”

Fox is readying an untitled reality skein set on a Western-style dude ranch in which a single woman attempts to make a love connection by choosing from a pool of single men — some of whom are actually gay. If she ultimately chooses a straight mate, she wins a substantial cash prize, possibly $1 million; if a gay man fools her, he gets the cash.

Skein, from Brit-based Lion TV, has been in production for several months, with the same tight veil of secrecy surrounding it that Fox used for “Joe Millionaire.”

But while “Joe” was kept quiet to ensure none of the contestants knew the skein’s star was actually a construction worker, contestants on Fox’s new show weren’t completely in the dark. Although the single woman and the straight men initially thought they were going to be on a traditional dating show, they were informed just prior to the start of production the pool of bachelors included gay men.

Just a cover?

Still, the secrecy surrounding the project has some industry insiders speculating the series — whose official shooting title was “Who Will She Choose?” — could actually be a giant cover for Fox’s top-secret next installment of “Joe Millionaire,” or perhaps be related to “Joe” in some other way, perhaps as a jumping off point for the second “Joe.”

Of course, it’s also possible that the new skein has absolutely nothing to do with “Joe,” and reality insiders (and journos) are simply letting their imaginations run wild.

Fox execs declined to comment about whether the new skein is at all related to “Joe.”

Speculation abounds

Mike Darnell, the net’s exec VP of alternative programming, did say the mystery skein will play on the public’s fascination with speculating on the sexual orientation of reality show contestants and other celebs.

“When people watch all of these shows, they’re trying to figure out if (the contestants) are straight or gay,” he said. “We figured, why not cash in on what’s a national pasttime?”

Bravo’s “Boy Meets Boy” also plays on the straight vs. gay concept, though that skein doesn’t clue in the lead participant to the point of the game. What’s more, Fox’s skein will feel like a traditional dating show — with a preferential twist.

“It taps into what many women tell you they went through when they were single,” Darnell said. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, comic Kathy Griffin jokingly told KROQ-FM’s “Kevin and Bean” that a network ought to do a reality show with a single woman trying to determine who’s gay or who’s not.

Darnell said Fox’s new skein will also have “a lot of humor. It has real emotional beats, but it’s also loaded with comedy.”

Exec wouldn’t say when the show will air, except that the skein “can go anywhere and be ready at any time.”

Jeremy Mills and Ciara Byrne of WMA-repped Lion are exec producers of “Who Will She Choose?” Fox said Rocket Science, the company behind the first “Joe,” is not a producer on the Mills/Byrne skein.

Let the speculation continue.