Showtime has slapped a gag order on the stars and producers of its provocative new reality show "Gigolos."
The pay-cable channel is keeping a lid on serious legal questions about how it can broadcast what appears to be unlawful prostitution.
The controversial series -- which lists former "21 Jump Street" actor Richard Grieco as a producer -- features five male escorts fulfilling intimate sexual fantasies for female customers in Las Vegas.
"The network is obviously nervous and is not letting anyone talk until things settle down," a production source tells The Post.
In a recent episode, three of the well-chiseled workers rake in $3,000 by servicing a 30-something divorcée as a team.
The show has not gone unnoticed by local authorities.
"Our vice section is aware of the situation and will be paying close attention," police spokesperson Marcus Martin tells The Post. "The fact that they won't be showing the exchange of funds does leave some loophole, but it doesn't mean the show can't still face criminal sanctions later.
"If we can show a pattern of pandering or participating in prostitution, the show could have to answer for that. People think it is a victimless crime. It is not."
Prostitution or soliciting sex in Nevada carries a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Shows that portray real people skirting the law often force the cops into action after years of overlooking borderline misbehavior.
When TLC aired the polygamist reality show "Sister Wives" last year, the Utah family -- which had been living openly in Utah for years -- was forced to flee the state to avoid prosecution.
Garren James -- who lined up the talent and serves as creative consultant for "Gigolos" -- insists his men are trained to operate within the legal gray area. "We are a companion service and clients pay a rate per hour," he tells a new hire in the premiere episode.
"The first thing you are going to do is collect the money from the client. Whatever happens between you two is [between] two consenting adults."
The show's fallback defense could be even simpler: the "dates" aren't real.
Buried in the end credits is a tiny legal disclaimer from the producers: "No one depicted in this program was remunerated in exchange for engaging in sexual activity."
Last week, James confirmed to Salon.com that the women were not all walk-in clients, but recruited participants. Finding them "wasn't easy," he told the Web site, adding, "They were compensated. They definitely got compensated."
Standard practice in reality TV would have been for clients appearing on camera to receive their services free of charge, says one industry insider. The gigolos would then be paid directly by producers to avoid the direct exchange of funds.
One reality show producer tells The Post it is likely that clients appearing on film received services free of charge and the gigolos were paid directly by producers.
In the pilot, a couple requests Jimmy's company as he fucks the wife, the husband watches.
Business at the Vegas-based escort service, Cowboys 4 Angels, is booming since last week's premiere episode, James says.
Two of the shows biggest stars have already headed out on their own.
Steven Gannt, the sensitive divorced dad from Texas, and Brace, the oldest in the crew, are no longer on the roster -- not that James is complaining.
"I tried working with Steven, and I just didn't like him, personally," James says. "I try to find guys that are really, really nice and don't have a big ego.
"And Brace, I think he is a little bit too old for my clientele."
My favorite Gigolo Jimmy Dior thanks you for your time
The show is a male version of HBO's Cathouse where it displays the business aspect of the Gigolo Life, it also has a lot of heart where it gets personal with the men. In the recent episode Steven is a single dad who has to support a son he rarely sees and it devastates him. He has trouble coming up with the funds to send his son to an expensive camp so without his knowledge the other men partake in a gangbang and give the money to Steven. They do show the men partaking in sex with their clients but no hardcore nudity