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‘Queer’ looks fabulous

Show gives cabler 435% jump over time period average

Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” hit a ratings bull’s-eye Tuesday, bowing to best-ever numbers for the Peacock-owned cabler.

The 10 o’clock episode of the unscripted lifestyle “make-better” series averaged a Bravo-best 1.17 million viewers in the adults 25-54 demo, 1.20 million in the 18-49 demo and 1.64 million overall. A second episode at 11 p.m. averaged 1.37 million viewers overall to rank as the network’s second most-watched program to date.

“Record ratings is one person more than what you’ve done,” Bravo prexy Jeff Gaspin said. “What’s great is we did twice our (previous record) ratings.”

Indeed, the adults 25-54 delivery was a whopping 435% jump over the time period average of the past eight weeks and propelled Bravo into sixth place for the 10 o’clock hour, behind only Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and MTV. Season-to-date, Bravo ranks No. 41 in the hour.

What’s more, Gaspin believes “Queer” is exposing Bravo to a whole new set of viewers.

“This is not the traditional Bravo audience only,” he said. “With ‘Queer Eye,’ we clearly broadened, and hopefully will continue to broaden, our reach. It’s great when everything comes together — a terrific show, great reviews and now fantastic ratings.”

There’s already discussion inside NBC about airing one or two episodes of “Queer” on the Peacock net as a promotional stunt to feed viewers back to the Bravo run, though no final decisions have been made.

The largest overall previous audience on Bravo was 1.31 million for “Riverdance: Live in New York City” in March 2001.

Bravo, an NBC Cable Network since December 2002, is seeking to achieve a new identity with original programming beyond such past signature skeins as “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

Next up is dating show “Boy Meets Boy,” which premieres July 29 and will serve as a lead-in to “Queer.”

For Gaspin, “Queer’s” impressive bow is particularly sweet since it comes in the wake of his NBC reality skein “For Love or Money” ending its first season with a bang — ranking as the top show in all of television last week.

Gaspin said the last show he’s been involved with that’s drawn as much buzz as “Queer” was “Behind the Music,” which he launched while at VH1.

(Denise Martin contributed to this report.)

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