The ratings may be slipping, but the acclaim from its peers is still there for the Bravo/NBC reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

In the "creative arts" portion of the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Queer Eye was awarded the Emmy for "Outstanding Reality Program." It triumphed over ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, HBO's Project Greenlight (which has since moved to Bravo), PBS's Colonial House, and Showtime's misclassified non-reality offering Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.

After receiving the award, Queer Eye co-star Carson Kressley expressed the sentiments of the cast and crew when (according to The Hollywood Reporter) he told assembled reporters backstage that "none of us have ever been so happy to take home a lady." And she couldn't have come along at a better time for Queer Eye, either.

Hollywood Reporter has noticed a definite slide in Queer Eye's ratings since its stunning debut in the summer of 2003. While the second season of the show started strong, with an audience of over 1.5 million viewers in Adults 18-49 and almost 1.7 million in Adults 25-54 for the second season debut in June 2004, the ratings plummeted over the summer.

For example, a new episode of Queer Eye that aired September 7 drew only 804,000 in the A18-49 demographic, and ratings across the board have declined by about 40% from Queer Eye's ratings a year ago in the A18-48 and A25-54 demographics. The low point came August 3, when Queer Eye drew only 617,000 viewers in A25-54.

Although those ratings are significantly better than the 129,000 in A25-54 that Bravo attracted in the Tuesday at 10 PM time slot prior to Queer Eye, the plunge in ratings this summer has been a surprise (to put it mildly) to both the creative team behind the show and to Bravo.

Will the Emmy help revitalize the show? Bravo and its parent NBC can hope that it does -- especially considering that Bravo is now airing the British version of Queer Eye and is also set to launch a Queer Eye for the Straight Girl spinoff this season.

Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick believes that "Eye does not need a facelift," but "maybe a little Botox." We simply would like to remind Zalaznick that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry also has been identified as a Botox user, and it does not seem to have helped his floundering presidential campaign so far.

On the other hand, perhaps the real problem is that Kerry failed to keep up with his Botox treatments -- something which the fashion mavens of Queer Eye would never do.