Lawsuit settled, 'Crying Game'-like 'There's Something About Miriam' premieres in UK
By Reality TV World staff, 02/23/2004
The six straight men who sued to prevent the broadcast of an UK reality show in which, unbeknownst to them, they competed for the affection of a preoperative Mexican transsexual quickly got over their claims of injury and public humiliation in return for a cash payment, clearing the way for the program to debut on UK television last evening.
The undisclosed settlement -- which various reports pegged at anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000 a man -- followed November 2003's lawsuit over the previously scheduled broadcast of the series. which had been filmed earlier in the year in Ibiza.
During the beginning of the show, the six men were presented with a lineup of beautiful women and asked to pick the one that they found most attractive. All of them selected a South American beauty named Miriam. Then, in typical reality dating show fashion, they competed to win her affections.
However, unknown to the men, Miriam wasn't a woman. Instead, she was a preoperative transsexual -- similar to Jaye Davidson in the 1994 movie The Crying Game. The show, produced by the Brighter Pictures subsidiary of Endemol, the huge Anglo-Dutch reality TV producer (Big Brother, Fear Factor), apparently was intended to be Endemol's entry into the "reality-twist" genre that other reality producers have been mining, such as Stone Stanley's The Joe Schmo Show, Rocket Science Laboratories' Joe Millionaire, Doug Ross' Boy Meets Boy, and all of the imitators up to the current NBC show Average Joe.
At the end of the show, when the program had its "grand reveal" and the men found out that the "gorgeous creature" Miriam wasn't a gorgeous female, they went bonkers. One of the men, a Royal Marine, supposedly broke down crying from the "humiliation" when the deception was revealed ... and, according to reports, some of the production crew sympathized with the men's reaction and turned on Endemol and British network BSkyB, a sister network to Fox in the U.S., which was planning to air the show.
The six men had hired the publicity-oriented U.K. law firm Skillings (which has also represented Nicole Kidman, J.K. Rowling and Naomi Campbell among others) to try to keep the show off the air. Some of the bizarre claims framed by the Skillings lawyers for the lawsuit included defamation, personal injury and conspiracy to commit sexual assault (apparently because several of them had kissed and hugged Miriam).
As part of the settlement Brighter Pictures also issued a public statement apologizing for "any upset" caused by the program. Said the statement: "Following the concerns recently raised by the contestants in Brighter Pictures production of There’s Something About Miriam for Sky One, the parties are pleased to announce that these have been addressed and the matter is now resolved. It was never the intention of Brighter Pictures or Sky to upset the contestants and they are sorry for any upset caused."
So far there's no word if the controversial program might ever air in the United States -- although perhaps a bid by FOX to run it as a follow-on to next month's Playing It Straight would seem to be a natural fit!