Wait, what? All male? Seriously?
Picture it now…The panel, the topics and debates, the cheering audience.
The colours may vary, the studio, the desk and the audience size. All of these things are changeable to make shows more distinctive. However, as much as the members of the panel may vary in age and where they come from, they never vary in gender.
Talk shows are an area of TV (and one of very few) that has been dominated by women since their creation.
So why am I happy that this may be about to change? Particularly when #womeninfilm is such a pressing and important issue? Because I believe men being excluded from talk shows may be just as damaging for representation as women being excluded from 3-Dimensional feature film roles (time for a female Doctor who anyone? ;)).
If you look at our society, it makes sense why this is one of the few areas of mainstream media where men are sorely underrepresented. Talk shows are all about feelings. Feelings and deep discussions about those feelings. Talk shows are emotional. Something that men are encouraged not to be with every passing ‘man up’, ‘locker room talk’, ‘real men don’t cry’ and ‘boys will be boys’.
Justin Baldoni (actor and founder of Wayfarer Entertainment) is challenging this stigma with the development of a talk show featuring an all-male panel, which will give men the platform to talk openly about emotional issues without stigma or fear. Baldoni is not only liberating the men featured on the show, but all boys and men who will now have the opportunity to watch emotive and compassionate role models. In the era of ‘I just grab em by the pussy’, this feels like an extraordinary beacon of hope!
Baldoni rose to fame with his awesome performance as Rafael Solano on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, but has achieved personal fame thanks to his inspirational social media presence, with posts about his love for his family and his faith often going viral around the world.
Baldoni is developing the show – ‘The Men’s Room’ – and fully funding it, through his production company, Wayfarer Entertainment, and talked about the challenges he faced in breaking through the status quo in a feature with Variety magazine…
‘I think that one of the main reasons the talk show space hasn’t previously seen an all-male show is simply because our culture has taught men that they need to be strong, confident, and stoic and that emotions are a sign of weakness…We want to challenge men to open up and be okay talking to each other, and more importantly, form deep and meaningful relationships.’
The show will enter production this autumn and Baldoni hopes it will be picked up by a premium digital service – who are typically more open to innovation and experimentation – who would then become co-producers for a full season run.
So why does this matter?
Well, it’s proof that just because something has never been done before – or just because people claim there’s a reason for that – is never a good reason to give up! Keep pushing for your passion projects and you might find yourself in Baldoni’s position – as a leader and trailblazer in the industry.
Don’t hesitate and don’t give up! Start working on your project today and ask permission later!