House husbands go for TV glory in new US show

LOS ANGELES, July 28 Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:43pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, July 28 (Reuters) - Charlie, Grant, Billy, Danny and Darryl all have nice homes, a menagerie of children and pets -- and wives who earn more than they do.

They're five of a growing breed of house husbands who juggle cooking, chores and their egos while their wives bring home the bacon.

Meet the "Househusbands of Hollywood", some of the unsung (albeit more comfortable) heroes of an army of stay-at-hone dads that has tripled in the United States in the past 10 years and is growing during an economic crisis that has hit men in the workplace much harder than women.

"Househusbands of Hollywood" premieres on the Fox Reality TV channel on Aug.15. Although its premise is lighthearted and its stars enjoy a life of relative luxury, producers said on Tuesday that the theme of the show is universal.

"We wanted a show about a bunch of guys doing some things you never saw before, and handling it in the right way and being proud of what they were doing," said Charlie Mattera, whose wife is a prominent psychologist and who is the co-creator of the show as well as one of the househusbands.

While their women are out earning, cameras follow the househusbands as they navigate bringing up children, running errands, cleaning up after pets and trying to find time to hang out with their buddies.

The TV show "introduces audiences to a shifting dynamic happening within households," said Bob Boden, Fox Reality's senior vice president of programming.

According to U.S. labor statistics, the unemployment rate among men grew at nearly double the pace of women in 2008, to 7.9 percent from 5.0 percent for men and to 6.4 percent from 4.8 percent for women.

"I think this (program) shows in a very positive and realistic light what it is for a man to take over the role (of child raising) and I have a lot of admiration for them," said Tempestt Bledsoe, the former "Cosby Show" star whose partner, actor Darryl Bell, runs their household.

"It is easy to cast these men as something not very manly...I think that's a real disservice. The time is good to look at this show and see these men for what they really are," she told TV critics at a presentation.

Rounding out the househusbands are former Los Angeles Dodger baseball player Billy Ashley, whose wife Lisa is a celebrity makeup artist; Grant Reynolds, a former Marine sniper married to Fox 11 morning news show host Jillian Reynolds, and Danny Barclay, an aspiring actor whose wife Katherine is a high-powered LA lawyer. (Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)