The Bravo network announced in July that actor Jerry O’Connell would be hosting a new late-night talk show this fall called “Real Men Watch Bravo.”
The show’s name, an apparent reference to the fact that Bravo’s viewers are mostly women and gay men, sparked an immediate backlash. Critics slammed it as “homophobic” and “sexist.”
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) July 9, 2018
"Real Men Watch Bravo" is the new show @Andy Cohen is producing on Bravo.
There's an ugly connotation in that title which implies the gay male viewers who have helped put Bravo on the map are not "real men."
It's kind of gross and makes this real man not want to support Bravo.
— Jagged Little Richard (@rycardo1980) July 9, 2018
The five straight men who watch Bravo are so worried about being called a fag that they had to get their own show proving how not gay they are. Straight white men are the most exhausting people on the planet.
— sam greisman (@SAMGREIS) July 9, 2018
Within days, the network announced it would change the name.
“Bravo has always prided itself on being inclusive,” it said in a statement. “This show is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things Bravo featuring a diverse range of perspectives. The original title was not meant to be exclusionary in any way, but we hear you and will be announcing a new title shortly.”
O’Connell issued an apology in early August. “There will be no more mention of gender in that title or anything; we’re really sorry about that. We really heard everyone’s issues with it, and we made sure to change it,” he said, according to the New York Post.
The show’s new name has been revealed: “Bravo’s Play by Play.”
Bravo announced Tuesday that the three-episode limited series will debut Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern.
The network initially said the show would feature O’Connell and “a panel of male celebrities, comics, and tastemakers to chat about all the buzziest moments on Bravo and other hot topics in pop culture.”
Is this REALLY the time that we need a male-hosted, all male guest talk show @MrJerryOC and @Bravotv? Is the male opinion really what's missing from the landscape? Real Men Watch Bravo is a terrible idea and I hate everything right now #TimesUp
— ✡Lauren Jacobs✡ (@laurenrjacobs) July 11, 2018
But the actor said his show won’t be all-male. O’Connell tweeted that he would be “BEGGING” female Bravo personalities to appear, including “Real Housewives” stars NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield and “Countess” Luann de Lesseps.
— Jerry O'Connell (@MrJerryOC) July 11, 2018
The word “male” was removed in Bravo’s announcement Tuesday.
“Each episode will find Jerry sitting down to dish about all the buzzy Bravo moments alongside a panel of actors, comics, tastemakers, and athletes,” it said.
The premiere episode will feature UFC fighter Brendan Schaub, Esquire editor-at-large Dave Holmes and comedian Michael Yo.
Bravo embraced realty television in the early 2000s with LGBT-oriented hits like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Project Runway.” A 2008 survey found the network to be the most “gay-friendly” company.
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