Producers of the Australian Queer Eye For The Straight Guy promise the Aussie cast (announced this week) will offer a new, yet familiar version of the US hit show.

Our own Queer Eye stars are Liston Williams (life), Will Fennell (grooming), Ryan Andrijich (food and wine), Ty Henschke (fashion) and Brendan Wong (interior design). The show will screen on Network Ten from early next year.

Casting began for the local version over a year ago, but Tim Clucas, head of development for Ten, said it was not a process they were prepared to rush.

The hardest casting job in television is to put people locally in a role that is already existing in an overseas program, and we saw how dangerous that was when they made Australian Survivor, Clucas told Sydney Star Observer.

The Fab Five were drawn from across Australia and New Zealand. Fashion guru Henschke is a Melbourne designer with label Ty and Melita; foodie Andrijich is a chef from WA; grooming guy Fennell runs a Sydney beauty salon; Wong is an interior designer from Perth and Williams is a Kiwi who once starred in Cats.

Clucas said the show will capture the spirit of the American series, but has a very different look.

We’ve seen lots and lots and lots of New York apartments being invaded by the [American] Fab Five, and suddenly when we shot the pilot there were blue skies and wide streets and front lawns, he said. It really does feel uniquely Australian -“ and yet the problems that straight guys face here are universal.

The show has already had some casting issues. As with the US production, the local Queer Eye‘s culture guy is a replacement, in this instance for Daniel Scott, the producers’ first choice.

Daniel has lots of things he wants to do in his life, and I think he just came to a point where he went, -˜Hang on, this is a huge thing, and I really need to think about whether I’m on this journey’, Clucas said.

The new culture guy Liston Williams has also been renamed the life expert for this series, a change Clucas said was better suited to Australian audiences.

We think it’s one of the big issues for Aussie guys, that the rut that they get into in their lives is often reflected in the fact they’re wearing the same clothes they were wearing 15 years ago, he said. I think that’s what is the key to Queer Eye: to embrace change.

Ten are banking on audiences to embrace the new cast, and Clucas dismissed any suggestion the network had left their run too late.

I’d take the philosophy that the Fab Five take towards straight guys: it’s never too late, he said.

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