'Househusbands' a bland 'unreal' show

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Oh, "Real Housewives of [Fill In the Blank]," look what you have wrought: "Househusbands of Hollywood" (9 p.m. Saturday, Fox Reality Channel).

In this latest reality series, viewers follow men who stay at home while their wives work.

"I fought it for a little bit early on," says Grant Reynolds, a former Marine sniper and husband of Jillian Reynolds of "Fox NFL Sunday," in tomorrow's premiere. "Then I woke up and realized my main goal and main identity for the time being is taking care of my kid."

That includes playdates for 2-year-old daughter Ruby where he's surrounded by moms who flirt with him.

Former pro baseball player Billy Ashley helps manage his wife's cosmetic lines. Actor Darryl Bell ("A Different World") describes his relationship with actress Tempestt Bledsoe ("The Cosby Show") as "like cockroaches. It's lasted."

Danny Barclay, an aspiring actor with a lawyer wife, invites the guys over to his "man cave" for a gathering that feels scripted and like a forced friendship that only gets more contrived when the wife arrives home early to disrupt the gathering.

Clips from future episodes show Grant yelling at Jillian for eight $1,000-plus charges at Barney's.

Given the ubiquity of "Real Housewives" shows, it may be a sign of equality for a show about househusbands, but adding to the lame reality show glut does not feel like societal progress.

Last month at a press conference in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association summer press tour, "Househusbands" producers claimed keeping the show realistic was important to the participants.

"The key thing I know on [the minds of] several of the cast members was the fact that this was going to be absolutely real, and nothing was going to be faked," said producer Scooter Pietsch.

But in the same press conference it came out that one of the househusbands is not actually a husband. Bledsoe and Bell are not married.

"What we were a little bit concerned about was the fact that we really didn't fit into the show, per se, because we aren't actually married and we don't have any children and we are both working actors," Bledsoe said, shredding any reality remaining in the show's title. "So it doesn't really fit into a concept of a woman being a breadwinner and a man being at home in a traditional way."

Fox Reality Channel can be found on traditional Comcast (Channel 118), former Adelphia (Channel 165 or 108), Verizon FiOS TV (197), DirecTV (250) and DISH (190). Armstrong does not carry the channel.

Channel surfing

TNT has renewed its nursing drama "Hawthorne" for a second season to air next year. ... Episodes of daytime soap "Days of Our Lives" are now available for streaming at NBC.com. ... Last week Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said six unaired episodes of "King of the Hill" would never air; this week Fox announced the show will get a one-hour series finale at 8 p.m. Sept. 13. ... Verizon's FiOS TV has added on demand content from AMC and HSN that is free to subscribers. There's also now an on-demand premium channel, Disney Family Movies, which costs $5.99 per month. Verizon also now offers remote DVR programming to customers who subscribe to both FiOS TV and Internet service. ... A new season of "Pittsburgh's Hidden Treasures," KDKA's antiques appraisal show filmed at the Heinz History Center, will continue to air monthly beginning in October.

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Today's TV Q&A responds to questions about "Three Rivers," "Dirty Sexy Money" and KDKA's set. Tuned In Journal blog includes posts about "Mad Men," a WQED survey and a new animated show on Nick at Nite. Read online TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.

In this week's Tuned In podcast, online features editor Sharon Eberson and I discuss recent trips to Comic-Con (for Eberson's summer vacation) and to the TV critics summer press tour (for me). Eberson reports on the scene from the "Chuck" panel, and I offer assurances that this fall will offer better new TV shows than fall 2008. Listen or subscribe at post-gazette.com/podcast.

Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112.


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