believes that his upcoming ABC sitcom, Madigan Men
, will be the male equivalent of HBO's Sex and the City
? but with less exposed flesh. "From my experience, I'd never seen a series that dealt with the secret emotional lives of men," the Irish actor says. "You don't get to hear what they're thinking."
Inspired by the candor of Sex and the City and, ironically, women's magazines, Byrne wanted to do a show that "projected the way [I] felt about the world." The charismatic 50-year-old says that Madigan Men is an attempt to explore men's feelings about sex and relationships. "In the magazines I saw," he explains, "I just wondered where do men go to discuss these things and that's what led to the idea."
Like Byrne, who has two children with ex-wife Ellen Barkin (he calls their split "amicable"), his character, Benjamin Madigan, is a single dad slowly adapting to New York City's dating scene. "Like everybody else in the universe, I have had good dating experiences and bad dating experiences," he says. "It's one thing to be dating when you're young... 20, 24. You're much less guarded and more optimistic about the world and you're willing to take a chance. When you get a little bit older, you start looking for specifics and you say, 'I cannot survive without somebody who's reasonably curious about the world that goes around them.' "
Still, his priority remains his kids, Jack and Romey Marion, whom he was seated next to at Barkin's June wedding to Revlon chairman Ron Perelman. "I'm doing a sitcom [in New York] so that I can be available to them," says Byrne. "And if they move... I will move with them. It is as simple as that. I put them before my career."