With the series premiere of NBC’s new reality show Age of Love fast approaching, a conference call was held on June 8th for executive producer, JD Roth and the host, Mark Consuelos to answer questions about the show.
If you have somehow missed out on the advertising blitz promoting the show, Age of Love has tennis star Mark Philippoussis being tasked with finding . Half of the women vying for his attention are in their twenties; the other half are in their forties.
Here are the highlights.
My first question is for Mark Consuelos and it is if Kelly was, you know, 10 to 15 years older when you met her, would that have changed things up in the relationship?
Mark Consuelos: That’s a great question. You know what? She technically is a little bit older than me, so absolutely not. I don’t think it would have changed anything. She, you know, I’ve been married 11 years and one thing I know is how to answer questions like this. And it absolutely would not have changed a thing. I probably would have been a little hotter for her. How’s that?
JD Roth: Well done, Mark! Well done!
MC: Thanks, JD.
And have you ever been seduced by an older woman or been put into that situation?
MC: You know, it’s been such a long time — I distinctly remember, I must have been 21 or 22 this was before I moved to New York — and I definitely had a thing for someone like, this lady was close to her 40’s. And you know, timing is everything. It obviously didn’t work out. I had to move to New York but, absolutely it’s happened, and I was completely open to it.
My questions are for Mark. You started out working on a daily soap. Did the drama of this dating reality show remind you of the soap opera drama?
MC: That’s a great question. You know what? I’ve got to say it like this — I don’t think you could write the stuff that is on this show. You can’t write it. It’s so good, and I was telling JD that, you know, I’m converted. I really fell in love with the medium and just watching, you know, the conversations and the interactions between the two groups has been, you know, it’s been amazing.
So, although I had a really, really good time on daytime, again, I don’t think you could write some of this stuff.
Do you think that the star of the show, do you think that he really found love, from your observations?
MC: You know what I love about Mark Philippoussis is that he’s a stand-up guy, you know. I think he went into this or he realized that he had to go into this with an open mind and — yeah, I mean, he was really making some decisions, some really level-headed decisions. I couldn’t believe it. I’m like, “Oh my God”, you know. And, you know, he’s kind of a throwback — he’s an old-fashioned guy. So, I think he went in, you know, looking to find someone and, you know, which I really respect.
JD: I want to jump in there on that, as well, because Mark we call him “Flip” — but Philippoussis, he brought me into a room and it was just him before we started the show. And he made it very clear to me that if we were looking for a guy who was going to, you know, kiss every girl and go with every girl in a Jacuzzi, that it wasn’t him. He said, “So really understand what you’re getting when you get me.” He said, “I’m really here to find someone that I can fall in love with. I’m going to do this journey whether it’s with you guys or not.” So — and this was obviously before he knew the twist of the show. And he said, “So, I want you to know if that’s the guy you’re looking for, it’s not me.”
And, my wife, you know, watched â€˜The Bachelor’ and these other shows and, you know, she gets disgusted at times as the guy’s going from, you know, girl to girl, lip to lip, and to see this — when this guy actually kisses a girl, you know by the time he does it that it’s for real, that he actually means it. And, I think that kind of quality in a guy has not been seen on television in a long time.
Hey. I have a question for both of you guys. I realize I’m at a disadvantage because I didn’t get an advance tape of it, and I would be asking the questions to Flip if he was here. But, if you can kind of fill me in on this a little bit. Okay, he thought he was going into it as a regular dating show. He didn’t know the twist about the age. As the first episode came up, did he gradually discover it, or now he’s meeting the first batch of women and they’re getting older and older?
JD: Here’s what happened. He thought he was going to be on a normal dating show. He thought that the girls were going to be, you know, young and beautiful and, he was only half right.
They are very beautiful and spectacular and, you know, have got great jobs and careers and families. You know, they’re great ladies. When the first one came out and says, you know, “Hi, how are you? I was born in 1967 and that makes me 40 years old,” he was definitely shocked. And, when the second one came out and said that they were 42, he got even more shocked. And, by the time the third one came out, I think he started to realize there was a pattern forming.
And, you know, certainly by that point it went systemic, you know, it had gone from his head all the way to his toes, and he kind of chuckled a little bit, like, “Oh, my God.” And, to his credit — because I know Mark Consuelos, who was sitting right next to me, and I told him I haven’t had butterflies in my stomach like this in a long time because the guy is six foot five and serves a ball at a hundred miles an hour. So
MC: JD? JD and Mike, guess who they sent out to like, talk to him right after that? Me. I’m like five two. I’m like, “All right.” He goes, “All right, Mark.” JD’s like, “All right, Mark — go ahead, talk to him.” I’m like, “I can’t talk to him!”
JD: It’s exactly what I said. I said, “All right, Mark. You’re up. Haul him in there.” To his credit, he handled himself very well and he tried to keep an open mind and, you know, he really did embrace the idea. And then something really weird happened. He started falling for them. And just as he starts to fall for the 40 year-old and understand that there is a sophistication and a life experience to them, we introduce him to a group of 20 year-old girls that he had no idea was coming.
And, so was there a break in between? Did he stop and pause and go into another room and ask you guys, hey what’s going on? Or did it just keep rolling?
JD: We left him out there on an island by himself. We never stopped tape. We just kept rolling. And that was the idea. If we stopped down and he goes to another room, we don’t have it on camera. And, in my opinion, if you don’t have a story on camera then you can’t tell it. So, I really wanted everything that was going on in his head to be seen on his face. And, when you watch the show, we don’t even cut to a whole lot of sound bites or anything like that. It’s just nice as a viewer to actually watch what’s happening in someone’s head. It’s so well-described on his face, you know, which we have a great close up of.
MC: For sure, it’s a visual experience; I mean I’ve never seen a look on anybody’s face like that. JD’s right.
How specifically did you come up with Flip as the guy to do?
JD: It’s pretty interesting because we never not one time, ever sat down to make a list of celebrities that we wanted to be on the show. I’m actually very much against that. I feel like what it does is it steals the thunder from telling a great story because all anyone cares about is the fact that the person’s a celebrity. And, he actually read the ad that we had online and came to us.
Okay. And, just one other question, JD, in the past in â€˜The Bachelor’ and so forth, other shows like that, they’ve put in some lawyers, some doctors — they’ve never done well. It’s always been secretaries and bartenders that’ve done well. And, I noticed that although you’ve got a lot of women in the 40s, you don’t have any top professionals such as lawyers, doctors, things like that. What happened, did you try to get some of those because it would have been interesting to put Mark to put Flip across from those?
JD: Well, you know, it’s interesting. I also created â€˜For Love or Money’, which was on a couple of years ago. And, you know, they asked me the same questions then. You know, we have a woman who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on this show, who, you know, just doesn’t happen to be a doctor or lawyer.
JD: She’s a business person. You know, I think everyone has successes. Like, you know, my nice Jewish mom thinks that no one’s a she cant understand that I’m a success, because I’m a not a doctor or lawyer.
JD: You know what I mean? But, I think in this day and age, I do believe that kind of in the 70’s and 80’s, that that was true. Like doctors, lawyers — they were the only ones successful. I’ve got a lot of friends that are doctors that aren’t too successful, you know? And, I think success nowadays is defined in completely different ways. There are people with internet businesses. There are people who have homes for abused women. You know, they’re just as much of a success as a doctor or lawyer, and I think that that label, you know, is a bad label.
We don’t have any 40 year-old women that are bartenders. We don’t have any that are, you know — what do they call those girls? Like, not models, but, you know, people like at a car girls at a car show you know what I mean? So, we don’t have any, you know, actresses. So, we don’t have that level of reality character that has been on in the past. I think these are accomplished women and they are accomplished in their own ways. But, they’re not that class of reality character that you’re referring to.
Was it hard to adjust from working in scripted dramas to this sort of a format?
MC: I’ve got to tell you, Gabby. I was I had some concerns about it. I mean, I’ve never really done anything like this. And JD will tell you, from like day one, I jumped into it and it was ecstat you know what, it’s fascinating. It really is.
And, I fell in love with it and typically, they’d have to tell me to leave to go home. I’m like, you’re done, you’re done with work, you can leave. I’m like, I want to I kind of want to see what happens. I’m going to stay here and see what happens. I mean one night, they wrapped me but I kind of stayed just to watch, and they ended up filming me back into the show. They’re like, “Get dressed, you’ve got to go back and do some more stuff.” And, I’m like “All right!” It was like, I’m like the guy on the basketball team that doesn’t want to, you know, sit down.
JD: And, you know, I can speak to that too. He was great. And, you know, he worked on another show with me as well that’s a special, and that’s why we ended up hiring him on this show — because there’s a certain comfort and a certain warmth. I mean, I know being at Soap Opera magazine, you know who Mark is. And that is just who the guy is. Not to talk like he’s not here, but instantly when you meet him, you want to go have a beer with him. And, although, you know, you probably don’t want to be number two guy in a bar with him, because you’re probably not going to get any girls, he there’s just a certain character and warmth. He’s a great guy.
And then beyond that, his job’s I’ve never had a host ever stay and put headphones on and listen to the story, you know, that’s going through all of the rooms and be so amazed by it. So, it was — for me, anyway — it was a nice switch to what I’m used to being around.
This is primarily for JD, I guess. What did you tell the women involved with the show that they were doing? Was there any sort of ?
JD: You know, we told the 40 year-old women that this was a show about, you know, successful, empowered, positive women. That, you know, we didn’t mention that there were any 20 year-olds involved. We mentioned that there was a bachelor who didn’t know that they were older. But, I mean to see these women — I don’t know if you’ve gone online and watched the trailer on NBC.com or anything, but they’re hot women.
You know, it’s very hard standing nose-to-nose — to think that they’re anything over, you know, 28, 29. And, they’re engaging women, too. I mean, we had the benefit of traveling with casting teams across the entire United States to find the seven most perfect women over 40 years old. So, you know, they didn’t know that much, but they certainly weren’t afraid of anything.
I think that when the 20 year-olds came in, it was a bit of a, you know, shocking moment for them, but they got over it pretty quick.
So, the younger women weren’t aware of the older women being involved either, right?
JD: No, not until they showed up and got off the helicopter and realized, you know, and we told them. And, you know, I think in an obvious way, they weren’t real threatened by that. But, what you see in the show, you know, everyone’s going to assume, oh, I know, of course, you’re going for the younger woman. But, I would say to you, don’t assume anything. That what happened, you know, definitely surprised us.
For me, at my age, with the kids I have and, you know, you get one night out a week. Saturday night you go out with a bunch of couples and that’s your dinner for the week. And, I always use that time to create shows and that’s how this show was created. You know, all the moms sit around at those dinners and they’re the ones that read your magazines and your web sites and they’re the ones that cry when they watch â€˜Grey’s Anatomy’, and I just ask questions. “Why do you guys cry? What is it about the relationships on that show that make you guys cry?”
Well, you know, they happened to be talking about one of their friends who was dating a 25 year-old guy. And I said, “There isn’t one of you that could get a 25 year-old guy.” And next thing you know, we were all in a huge, you know, fight about age. And, I realized — I talked to my partner the next day, I realized that there was very potent information that, in a lot of ways, polarized these women. They couldn’t believe that I could suggest that they couldn’t get a 25 year-old guy. And that’s how the show was created.
What did your own wife say to that?
JD: She said, don’t test me. That’s what she said. And, Mark’s met my wife, so I think it’s pretty believable.
MC: Yeah, your wife could probably get an 18 year-old guy, dude. She’s outstanding.
JD: Yeah, I mean, they all think that they still have it. You know what I mean? That they can get a guy, and then my question back to them is, “Okay, so you could get a 25 year-old guy. What do you want with him?” You know, he doesn’t have the life experience I have. He doesn’t have the sensitivity, the commitment, the career — you know, all of those things. And that’s what this show explores. That all of these reality shows to me that don’t have a real good question to ask are shows that people don’t watch.
And this is a great question to ask — does age matter to you? And, my answer to that is “no” — that love is all about chemistry. It doesn’t matter what age, color, size, weight it doesn’t matter. All everyone that you see can find someone that they love and that loves them. And, that’s what it’s about and I think we have to get rid of some of the stereotypes that exist, you know, in the world, not just in the world of relationships.
And, should this if the show does well could you see yourself doing a version where it’s like a, you know, a 35 year-old woman involved in, you know, with, in a similar ?
JD: Yeah, doing the flip? For sure. And when you think about it, you know, an older guy dating younger women, everyone has a problem with. But, you know, a younger guy dating older women, no one has a problem with. And, again, that’s the stereotype. Well, the girl must be there because — if it’s an older guy, because money, you know. And of course, that’s how we came up with â€˜For Love or Money’. That question’s been around forever.
So, I always go back to if you have a great, simple question, you can make an excellent reality show.
The “Kittens” and the “Cougars,” how’d you come up with those names?
JD: Well, you know, its kind of a natural thing. And to be honest, I think it came out in the press as “Kittens” versus “Cougars” even before, you know, we called it that officially on tape. You know, we always joked about it behind the scenes, like, you know, is Mark going to rob the cradle or the coffin?
JD: You know. You know. Obviously, there’s tons of jokes when you’re working 20 hours a day, seven days a week. So we’d always come up with a bunch of stuff. But, I think “Kittens” and “Cougars” just kind of stuck.
And now, you know, when I go drop my kid off in the morning at school, all of the moms are giving me trouble because all of the moms are, you know, 38, 39, 40. And, so they’re all, “How could you call us Cougars? How dare you?” You know?
MC: Wait, let me ask you this. Let me ask you guys a question, do you think “Cougars” is like, is offensive? Do you really think its offensive? I mean, do you find it offensive?
It could be, because they’re kind of malicious. You know, they’re cougars are dangerous and
JD: They’re also beautiful.
MC: Yeah and kittens are the kind of like — they’re kind of dumb, you know, I mean, that could be construed, also. So I guess either way
JD: But, they’re also harmless though, if you think about it. Kittens are harmless, and these girls weren’t so harmless. And, cougars are supposed to be dangerous and I don’t think, you know, the 40 year-olds were all so dangerous. In fact, it might have been the reverse, you know, the “Cougars” were the much I think sweeter, kinder — they understood about life and they had life experience. And, the “Kittens”, you know, were ready to go have a good time.
Mark, what did you learn mostly by hosting this show?
MC: Well, I must say that, you know, that any pre-conceptions about age or that I had or what I thought was going to happen were completely thrown out the window. You know, I obviously, I was extremely objective on the show but, I just I could not I mean, I always knew there was a difference, a big difference between, you know, 40 year-olds and 20 year-olds, but just watching it and actually being, you know, kind of third-party voyeur of it all, it really, really kind of made me appreciate, like, where I am in my life and, you know, that I’m married to somebody who’s probably closer to being a “Cougar” than a “Kitten.” And, she’ll kill me for saying that but, I just have a really, you know, I’m really excited about, you know, what’s to come.
Where are you guys in terms of shooting the show? Have you wrapped already? And, you know — assuming this takes off, which hopefully it will — is there room for a sequel, could you franchise this, have you given that any thought?
JD: Yeah, you know, we’re done shooting. And, it went really, really well and right now I’ve got edit bays going basically 24 hours a day around the clock, seven days a week as we’re trying to make air for the show. But, yeah, we definitely feel that the show works — that there’s multiple seasons here because I don’t think the question’s ever going to get old.
And, we’d love to do the flip of the show and, you know, if the show works, you’re going to see more of it.
Awesome. Thanks so much.
JD: Hey, Consuelos, I’ll talk to later, all right?
MC: All right, buddy. Thanks man.
JD: All right, enjoy. Thank you everyone.
Age of Love airs on Monday nights at 9 PM ET/PT on both NBC and Global. The series premiere is tonight, Monday, June 18th.