8:45am PT by Kate Stanhope
Justin Baldoni's 'Man Enough' Talk Show Sets Talent, Premiere Date (Exclusive)
Justin Baldoni's male-centered talk show is taking shape.
How to Get Away With Murder star Matt McGorry and Dancing With the Stars pro Derek Hough are set to appear on the unscripted series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Hamilton grad Javier Munoz, comedian Bassem Youssef, spoken word artist Prince Ea, transgender activist Aydian Dowling and former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva round out the rotating cast, which will change weekly.
Launching on wearemanenough.com on Nov. 28, Man Enough is described as a weekly dinner party that brings together familiar faces from Hollywood to have deep (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations about what it means to be a man today. The show aims to be a provocative and heartfelt look into the minds men, as they explore their insecurities, fears and dreams. The initial run will consist of eight 25-minute episodes. Baldoni created the series and will exec produce with Ahmed Musiol, Sam Baldoni and Farhoud Meybodi.
The idea for the series stemmed from Baldoni's own identity issues and difficulties with male stereotypes in his teens and 20s. (The Jane the Virgin star is also expecting his second child, a boy, with wife Emily Baldoni.)
"We have all the shows in the world that empower women to talk about these things – which they should exist by the way because, let's be honest, women deserve a safe space to have these conversations – but men don't talk," he says. "Even the idea of this show made men scoff, like, 'Oh, who's going to watch men talking to each other? That's how rare this is. This is not The View for men. This is a conversation show. This is a show where men create a comfortable space for each other to go deep and have a conversation and we hope that this stuff happens in real life, too."
Topics include personal subjects like body image, fatherhood and dating/relationships, but Baldoni also hopes to cover current events when appropriate.
"As an example, there absolutely needs to be an episode of our show that has to do with sexual assault or harassment or the broken accountability system that we as men have when we don't stand up for other women when we hear locker room talk and things like that," he says, pointing to the recent allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and now-ousted Amazon studio chief Roy Price.
Because of the wide range of topics covered on the show, Baldoni says he wanted a diverse group of individuals to appear on camera.
"I wanted voices that would challenge each other," he says. "Diversity was really important to me because men face issues based on their ethnicity and also based on their sexual orientation. We wanted to make sure that this was an inclusive conversation and also we wanted to make sure that women could watch and that men could watch and both feel like they learned something from it."
Baldoni is producing Man Enough through his production company, Wayfarer Entertainment, which also produced The CW unscripted series My Last Days. When asked why he opted to premiere Man Enough on a website rather than more traditional channels, Baldoni says he was eager to launch the project as soon as possible — something the normal TV development cycle would have made difficult.
"The amount of time that it would take to make this show, I just think we would have lost a lot of momentum and a lot of steam and we're really interested in doing things differently," he says. "We thought, 'Hey, we believe in it, we're going to put our money where our mouth is and we're going to take that risk and do it ourselves.' If nobody watches it, at least we tried."
Instead of selling traditional advertising, Man Enough is teaming with partners "that share the same vision," such as the shaving company Harry's. "Our goal primarily is to market digitally through Facebook where this conversation really happens and where I think this conversation is needed," Baldoni says. "Everyone's on their Facebook, and everyone's on those second or third screens and that's where we want to be marketing the show."
The website will not only host new episodes of Man Enough but also articles and other curriculum about topics discussed onscreen. "Our goal is to build a hub redefining what it means to be a man," he says.
However, Baldoni hasn't ruled out a more traditional home for Man Enough further down the road. After all, his docuseries My Last Days first debuted on YouTube in 2013 before making the leap to The CW three years later. "While putting it up on this website and driving traffic to it, we are interested in a second life cycle or a third life cycle that is at a network," he says.
As for the show itself, Baldoni is optimistic about Man Enough's life cycle. "It can go on for as long as people are interested in having the conversation. There is no shortage of men, I can tell you right now, that want to be at that table and have that conversation even in this town, believe it or not, because men are ready to talk, men are ready to open up, men are tired of the way things have been."