When Justin Baldoni announced he was developing a talk show for men, the internet automatically raised their collective eyebrows. But speaking with TV Guide, the Jane the Virgin star went into detail about why he thinks we need a show like this, even though it may seem problematic to some.
Before he started working on the show, Baldoni did a series of focus groups with men and women about whether a show like this would be relevant to them and what they'd be looking for in it. What Baldoni found was that women were actually far more excited by the concept than the men. "But here's what's interesting," Baldoni added. "If I got a man by himself, he said, 'Oh yeah, dude. I'd totally watch that show.' But if a man was in a room with another man, they were like, 'yeah, I don't know.' But that's why we need to make this show."
Baldoni hopes the untitled series, which would feature Baldoni and five other men discussing "what it means to be a man today," will help provide positive male role models for men — something the actor says is currently lacking in our cultural landscape.
"Historically, we haven't had a lot of male role models. I mean, can you name five or six guys that my generation grew up with that we can look at and say those are good men, those were faithful men, those were honorable men? There weren't a lot," Baldoni alleges. "Our role models are our pro athletes who make hundreds of millions of dollars, but they constantly let us down. But there's nothing wrong with that as long as they say, hey I screwed up. Because I think part of being a man is redemption and opening up and talking about your mistakes and learning from them."
This is especially important, according to Baldoni, because men are in dire need of guidance when it comes to learning how to positively cope with their feelings after being socialized to repress them.
"The women, especially college aged women [in the focus group], they felt it was so important to create a new generation of role models for the men that are their age because they say that, look, college assaults and sexual assaults are up fifty, sixty, seventy percent year after year," explains the actor. "Young men don't know what to do with the things that they're feeling and they're becoming more aggressive and taking things out on these young women. They're not asking for consent. All kinds of things are happening with this younger generation."
"What I found was women are really excited to have men open up and men be a part of the conversation, and what I really believe with all of my heart is that if men could make their journey from their head to their heart, I think a lot of our problems would be solved," Baldoni concludes. "I think it would change the direction that we're going both in the world and culturally. I just think that it's really important."
Additional reporting by Lindsay Macdonald