On April 8, I wrote a story on Bravo’s Gallery Girls, a new reality show in the making, and the name and concept’s similarity to a popular independent webcomic, also called Gallery Girls. In this post, Bravo responds to the possible conflict and I take stock of commenter responses.

When asked about the possibility of copyright infringement given the overlapping names and ideas between the TV show and comic, Bravo’s Senior Press Manager Kristen Andersen wrote in an email:

This site doesn’t have anything to do with the show – and Gallery Girls is a working title – as the show is only in development, not picked up to series yet.

So the anticlimactic answer is that Gallery Girls has no relationship to Blakemore’s comic, which we already knew from my interview with the comic artist, and we now know the name itself is not yet definite for the television show. As the show becomes more official, I’ll be in touch with Andersen for more details. Are we going to see the name change to Gallerinas of Chelsea County?

The original article kicked off quite a comment thread, with Hyperallergic contributor Rachel Wetzler downplaying the uniqueness of the name, noting her findings:

The first hit on a Google search of “gallery girls” is an apparently very popular troupe of LA based art-models-for-hire (http://gallerygirls.org), not Blakemore’s project. There is also a series of illustrated erotica called the “Gallery Girls” books. And, finally, the phrase “gallery girls,” used to describe female gallery assistants, appears in virtually every book on the commercial art world.

There’s also the argument that the idea of a dramatic bunch of gallery staffers playing off each other isn’t particularly new or revolutionary. I think what concerns me about the name conflict is less the content and more the name as the title for a narrative work. If the Bravo reality show goes through, I think that Blakemore’s work to develop a comic of the same name would be denigrated and it would be harder to expand on the concept in different media. It would be a shame, though not unexpected for a giant like Bravo.

Gallery Girls #99, from the webcomic by Mary Blakemore (image via ceceliawestgallery.com)

Art Fag City contributor Corinna Kirsch gives us some insight into the development process for Bravo’s Gallery Girls. It turns out she was approached by Magical Elves, the producers of Gallery Girls, to participate in the show and was even given a contract. Cast as the “Carrie” of the show, Kirsch was picked out for her gallerina sex tips column. Yet the deal went sour: “Now I’m worried that they might end up creating one in lieu of having an actual blogger,” she writes. Kirsch also notes that it was only Magical Elves, not Bravo, doing the talking.

I’m looking forward to seeing Bravo’s concept develop and, hopefully, to the name conflict resolving. We’ll have more in this space as soon as possible. If anyone has inside info on the show, whether it’s casting or writing or random rumors, please do email me at Kyle [at] Hyperallergic.com.

[Top image via Apartment Therapy]

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

6 replies on “Bravo Responds to Gallery Girls Controversy”

  1. I need to clarify – I wasn’t given a contract. I told Magical Elves that I needed a contract before they started shooting. However, I was not given one, so I told them that I couldn’t be involved in any production shots (Seriously, why would anyone put herself on film without a contract!). Anyways, I’ve got this down in email, too.

    Just another reality show issue – the lack of legality!

    1. The fault here lies with the production company, Magical Elves, both for not giving you a contract (though in pilot and pre-pilot stages contracts are generally only given to people who’ve already had a show on air) and for any naming problems. As they have not yet optioned the show, Bravo legally has little interest in the show at this time.

  2. The webcomic Gallery Girls looks funny as hell.
    There is another art related Reality show on Bravo, an elimination based show starring Painters. “Best New Painter in NYC” type title.

    1. Yes, that was “Work of Art, next Great Artist “! Bravo Producers & Magical Elves, still haven”t explained why, they took that CONCEPT from ARTV in 2007, after signing a contract, and totally cut ARTV out! ARTV gave them the IDEA & details, they never did an ART Reality show before this was submitted to them. At that time, we called it “ART STAR”.

  3. actually, I once saw them called “gallerinas” in print somewhere and I’ve used that term ever since.

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