The male perspective

New talk show targets women through an all-male ensemble
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With NBC's new multi-hosted talk strip, The Other Half, you've got an experienced outlook from Dick Clark, a funny vibe from former child star Danny Bonaduce, a professional perspective from plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams and a youthful presence with recent find Saved by the Bell's Mario Lopez. Doesn't that sound a lot like another ensemble daytime talk show currently on the air?

But "the worst thing that we could try to do is The View," insists Ed Wilson, chief of Other Half distributor NBC Enterprises, referring to any similarities to some of the hosts on ABC's series, such as wise Barbara Walters, comic Joy Behar, working mom Meredith Vieira and young Lisa Ling.

Even though once under the working title The Other View, "we are obviously different. We're men," says Wilson. "These guys are talking about women's issues but through the eyes of men."

Currently taping practice episodes, Clark, Bonaduce, Adams and Lopez chat about such topics as fashion, relationships, rearing children, sex and friendships.

"Think of the things that you talk about with your friends. That's what we are going to be talking about on the show," says Other Half executive producer Susan Winston (past executive producer of Good Morning America), who "totally" agrees with Wilson that the show won't be just a rehash of The View.

Winston, who once thought of herself as a radical feminist, believes viewers are going to want to hear how guys perceive important female topics. "What we don't do well is talk to one another to find out what's going on in each other's lives."

Plus, people should expect surprising conversation from the show, making for some good TV. Winston recalls that during one taping Clark revealed what it was like to discover that his former wife had been cheating on him.

"I mean, how many men do you know who will sit down and admit to their feelings? His openness and willingness to discuss emotion, something that men aren't very good at, is exactly what this show is about," she says.

On paper, the show seems solid, but there is the fact that the one syndicated ensemble talk show on the air, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, is struggling to survive. But Wilson points out that Mars, Venus changed its format halfway through the season, perhaps confusing some people, whereas The Other Half will come out in its intended form from the beginning.

"We believe that, in today's marketplace, you must come on the air as good as possible," he says of the show, which did take a year to cast, Lopez replacing Italian hunk Steve Santagati. "We're not going to hold back for the November sweeps. We're going all out in September, October and November. Because, if you don't find an audience soon, you'll be off the air."

The Other Half is cleared in more than 75% of the U.S.

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