Jennifer Lane Interview: ‘Queer Eye’ showrunner
“We are so happy about it!” admits showrunner Jennifer Lane about the success that her show “Queer Eye” has had at the Emmys. Watch the full interview with Lane above. Her team has won the Emmy for Best Structured Reality Program the last two years in a row (2018-2019). This year, among its seven nominations across the board is another chance to defend its title in the top category and a first-ever nomination in the Best Reality Host category for the “Fab Five,” made up of experts Bobby Berk (design), Karamo Brown (culture and lifestyle), Tan France (fashion), Antoni Porowski (food and wine) and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming).
When asked which of the two wins to date is her favorite, Lane jokes, “well which is your best kiss when you’re a teenager? I think it’s your first kiss. I mean, you might get better at it,” she smiles. “I am equally as proud,” she admits. “I am triply proud of being recognized again, but the first time was just magical.”
Like the original Bravo series, “Queer Eye” sees five experts in their chosen category meet up with a “hero” each week to offer them advice and guidance to help improve their lives. However, unlike the original, the Netflix reboot is more empathetic, where the experts aren’t judging the heroes, but are getting to know them and attempting to make a real, lasting difference to their lives.
The current iteration has been lauded for its empathy and heart, making it a very different show than its predecessor. “It’s like to compare apples and oranges. The first show was more comedy, it was fast-pace driven and it was sensational to see five gay men come in,” Lane explains. “Today’s audiences are different and a lot of people have been raised on reality TV so it felt like it was important to come in, especially when you’re going to repeat a show that was successful,” she says. “We knew we had to create something new.”
Embracing change, authenticity, self-acceptance and self-worth are the themes and values that are central to the show, a lot of which can be attributed to the personal style that each expert brings to the genuine interactions they have with each subject. Those interactions stem from hours of footage in which the experts get to know the heroes, have open and sometimes emotional conversations and then provide positive and constructive feedback, rather than point out what is ‘wrong’ with them.
What it has also achieved is painting a very different picture of the “middle America” that a lot of us see in the media. “Remember the old days when you didn’t know what side you were on when you read an article or you did a news piece, when you did the evening news. Gosh, I long for those days,” Lane says. “I really want to bring that to our production, especially with opinion-oriented news now, we have the conservative right and the leftist liberals and on TV we’re given this impression that it is like ninety percent of our culture, when it is realty more fringe elements on each side and ninety percent of us are in the middle.”
“I want to bring that to our show every step of the way. Not to be shaking fingers when you’re talking to someone but to just be open ears and heart.”