New York media had a field day on Friday after The New York Daily News broke the news that Bravo’s executive vice-president of production, Andy Cohen, was developing a gay version of his “Real Housewives” franchise to compete with Logo’s “The A-List.” However, with regards to the reportedly aptly-named “From The Bottom To The Top” – the main question at hand is, ‘How did Logo ever possibly beat Bravo to the punch in this genre?’
Following the news, everyone seemed to have an opinion about the new show – after all, what’s juicier than the idea of a gay male reality show rivalry?
Access Hollywood has multiple sources that confirm that the show is indeed in the initial stages of pre-production. According to our sources, here’s what true — and not-so-true — about the inevitable pinnacle of Bravo’s programming evolution:
- FACT: Six cast members have been signed to participate in what, for now, we’ll refer to as “FTBTTT” – they are: book industry publicist Kenneth Gillett, who came to NYC via LA (via Wisconsin); Factory PR founder and fashion event publicist Mark Silver; designer Jordan Carlyle (who also used to live in LA, via Mississippi) whose art is sold through retailer CB2; model Christopher Fawcett (aka: Jordan’s boyfriend… not initially mentioned in Friday’s media cacophony); style showroom owner Joey Giuntoli and British designer Kristopher Haigh, who currently works for Penguin and is a gay party promoter along with Gillett. They’ve all signed contracts that prohibit them from talking about anything… which is standard in the lifestyle reality show genre.
- FICTION: The show’s been green lit already. Nope, it hasn’t. In fact, it hasn’t even begun shooting footage for the pilot. Shooting “should” commence in early 2011, but even that’s not for sure yet.
- FACT: A seventh cast member may still yet be added. John Paul Fleming — originally from Texas (apparently, he has the tattoo to prove it) — who has worked as an international wholesale director for a variety of high-profile designers — including, most recently, Jil Sander, was asked to be a part of the cast two months ago, but had hang ups with his employer at the time. His situation has changed and now it’s TBD if he’ll be rejoining the six as a seventh official cast member, but he’s close friends with Haigh and worked for Giuntoli for two years (2008 – 2010).
- FICTION: The new Bravo cast will be at odds with the cast of “The A-List”… not necessarily. In fact, Ryan, Derek and T.J. from Logo’s show are actually friends with some of the Bravo show’s potential cast members. Fleming has become close friends with T.J. recently. Many of the Bravo boys also know celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz, and were at his birthday party last week for the opening of the new gay bar/lounge “Industry” in midtown Manhattan.
- FACT: They’re a tightly knit group. Fawcette also works for Giuntoli (when he’s not on the runway) and was Fleming’s assistant for over a year. Silver runs PR for Giuntoli and Carlyle is Giuntoli’s interior designer – so, as can you see… It’s not as if these guys have been thrown together randomly. They also have quite the list of high-profile acquaintances – amongst them, they are connected to: Nicole Richie, Victoria Beckham, Blake Lively, Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Lorenzo Martone, and designers Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Laurel Berman (who shows her collection, Black Halo, out of Giuntoli’s Chelsea Showroom) and Lynne Hiriak (who recently named a sweater in her collection after Fleming)… the list goes on.
- FICTION: The show is going to be called “FTBTTT.” Nope, in fact, this name has never been attached to the show… neither via the production company, nor Bravo… it started as a running joke and stuck amongst the NY gays. On Friday, Cohen Tweeted, “HEY EVERYBODY: Do you really think Bravo is doing a show called “From the Bottom to the Top”?!? We’re not.”
Well, they likely are… it’s just not going to be named that. Rumored alternative names for the show include: “A-Gays,” The Real A-List,” “VIP:GAY:NYC,” “The A-Team,” SocialistOs,” The Real Househusbands of NYC,” “The Gay Gangs of NY” and “The Plastics”… the latter of which leads us to the fact that …
- FACT: … This group of friends has a nickname: “The Plastics.” Although having a team nickname is a source of pride in certain NY circles, these boys have embraced it. They’ve even joked that the new project’s theme song should be a DJ Hector Fonseca remix of Keri Hilson’s latest single, “Pretty Girl Rock.”
All of this being said, as with anything in reality television, it’s still much too early to tell if this show will ever even happen at all. It could fall apart… or it could be Bravo’s biggest home run to date. Only time, and the timing of the latest Prada sample sale, will tell. As we learn more, we’ll keep you in the loop.
Access reached out to Bravo and received “no comment” on the show’s existence.
Bravo is a sister company of Access Hollywood at NBC Universal.