Queer as Folk came out in America in 2000, after the British version aired in the UK. While it wasn't shown on American television, everyone in Hollywood had seen the British mini-series. After the success of Queer as Folk in Britain, a second mini-series was ordered.
The Showtime cable channel in America decided to try their hand with the show. Rather than run the Brit version, Showtime decided to do the show themselves. The American version, which actually was filmed in Toronto, Canada, at first had some difficulties in casting. A lot of actors were nervous about playing a gay character. Queer as Folk would wind up changing the way actors and agents looked to gay role.
After much searching, Showtime found their cast and started filming the show. However, once the show aired the gay community criticized it. They felt that the show was showing stereotypes of gay people using drugs and sleeping around. While the show did have its detractors, it still was a solid hit for Showtime. It would wind up running for five seasons.
In season three a new character came to live with Michael, played by Hal Sparks and his partner/husband Ben, played by Robert Gant. Hunter was a hustler who Ben and Michael took in and cared for. The problem was Hunter was just plain annoying. There was no chemistry between the three. And Hunter was in serious need of a Queer Eye make over.
In the beginning, Queer as Folk had its handsome all-American blonde pretty boy in Justin, played by Randy Harrison. There was no need to bring in another young blonde guy, especially this hideous one. The storylines with Hunter involved him discovering that he was straight and not gay and then telling Michael and Ben. We liked the idea, but it came across as a stab at comedy and just didn't work.
We were very excited when Hunter left the show in the fifth season, but really disappointed when he returned after a few episodes, only to reveal that he was working at Disney World. Please we'll trade you Hunter for Goofy anytime.
Queer as Folk changed gay television. It was the first show to really show intimate relationships between gay characters. Plus the use of the word Queer was taboo and this show changed that. Had it not been for Queer as Folk, "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" would have had a much different title.