"Fab Five" from 'Queer Eye' get major pay hike but struggle with new fame
By Wade Paulsen, 10/16/2003
Those of you who were worried that the 'Fab Five' from Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy were getting gypped can sleep easier tonight. Television Week reports that the renegotiated second-season contracts between the show's producers and the 'Fab Five' raise their per-episode salary from $3,000 each per show to somewhere between $6,000 and $10,000 each per show.
Since Queer Eye only produced 20 episodes during the first season -- an initial 13 and then 7 more after the show became a hit -- the 'Fab Five' (Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez) only made $60,000 each during their first season. However, taking into account Bravo's 40-episode second-season order, each of the 'Fab Five' will make somewhere between $240,000 and $400,000 for their starring roles in the second season.
In addition, the Fab Five have been cashing in on other marketing opportunities. Members of the group are earning at least $50,000 from speaking engagements. They share in a $1.23 million book advance. Ted Allen, who was already a star food critic for Esquire prior to Queer Eye, signed an endorsement deal with General Mills. Thom Filicia, who has benefitted from close relations with furniture stores, is in discussions to create his own signature line of furniture. Carson Kressley has been approached to be a TV style analyst (look out, Joan and Melissa Rivers!). The fivesome has also signed a deal to jointly promote a women's product, (We admit to some trepidation about what type of product it might be....)
Of course, the higher pay for the Fab Five ties in to their status as one of the hottest acts in Hollywood. During the Emmys, even Best Actor winner Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) wanted to have his picture taken with them. The constant attention has led to the end of "private" lives for the Fab Five -- one of the classic costs of fame.
As Ted Allen told Crain's Chicago Business, "People are shivering when they meet us. And it's not just gay guys on Halsted Street. It's women that look like somebody's mom and college guys in the airport who say, 'Dude.' " Ted, a well-known food critic in Chicago during the 1990s who became "too well-known" to stay there (according to his editor at the time), said his new fame was simply incomprehensible, an "all-consuming beast."
Ted notes that his partner of 10 years has "taken to wearing baseball caps and sunglasses" so he can remain anonymous when with Ted. Says Ted, "He looks like a straight guy." We wonder whether Carson should give Ted's partner some personal makeover tips.
But the member of the Fab Five having the hardest time with fame may be former hairdresser Kyan Douglas. According to US Weekly, Kyan spent time prior to the Emmys with Robert Gant, who plays Ben on Showtime's Queer As Folk. Perhaps because of the rumors and the attention, New York Metro reports that Kyan blew up when he went to an exclusive L.A. opening recently and found reporters in the VIP area, publicly berating the reporters in front of everyone.
While we admit to having little sympathy for the paparazzi and the gossip-mongers of the Fourth Estate, we think Kyan had better learn quickly that, like his $3,000 per episode salary, his days of privacy in public places are probably gone forever.