Fox Reality is wed to 'Househusbands'

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Fox Reality Channel has ordered a new series that puts an attention-getting gender twist on the trophy-spouse reality genre.

The network has ordered nine hours of "Househusbands of Hollywood," which follows a collection of stay-at-home spouses of successful L.A. women.

The cast includes Tempestt Bledsoe ("The Cosby Show") and husband Darryl M. Bell ("A Different World"), Jillian Reynolds (formerly Barberie, from "Good Day LA") and her husband Grant and former Los Angeles Dodger Billy Ashley, among others.

The project produced by Marilyn Wilson Prods. represents a different kind of reality show for the cable channel, which is dominated by off-network acquisitions, original competition series and the occasional docudrama.

"Househusbands," set to bow in August, falls into an ensemble soap category that's provided ample fruit for such high-profile cable players as Bravo, VH1 and E!

"We believe 'Househusbands' could be a breakthrough for us," said Bob Boden, Fox Reality senior vp programming. "It's an amusing, poignant and fascinating look at a world that has not been covered yet in reality. It's obviously an outgrowth of a trend that's been working in reality about docusoaps, with interesting characters with unique relationships."

Fox Reality hopes to find a new audience with the series and, if successful, expand the "Househusbands" brand beyond a single series (not unlike a certain group of "Real Housewives" on Bravo).

"The concept offers many possibilities," Boden said. "It could lead to a spinoff with a certain cast member or expansion to other cities."

Fox Reality's highest-rated series is the psychological endurance test "Solitary." Also, the synergistic "American Idol Extra" will return to coincide with the reality hit's eighth season. (partialdiff)
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