<EM>Age of Love</EM> host Mark Consuelos Age of Love host Mark Consuelos
Does age matter? That's ostensibly the question at the heart of Age of Love, NBC's new dating series premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET. Hosted by former daytime star

Mark Consuelos, the reality show takes 30-year-old Aussie tennis hunk Mark Philippoussis and sends him a-courting with women from two very separate age groups: the "kittens" (aka gals in their twenties) and the "cougars" (ages 38 to 48). TVGuide.com asked Consuelos, the man who gets to call Kelly Ripa his wife, for a look at the semicontroversial program.

TVGuide.com: The last we "spoke," it was you crashing my Q&A with Kelly, trying to punch up her answers about favorite TV shows, slipping Anderson Cooper between Dancing with the Stars and Idol.
Mark Consuelos:
[Laughs] Sorry about that.

TVGuide.com: First of all, congratulations on the TV-movie you just booked. That's good company: Nadine Velazquez, Erik Estrada, Mario Lopez....
Absolutely. It's going to be a blast.

TVGuide.com: Although I think it disproves the theory that you, Estrada and Mario can't be in the same project together.
[Laughs] Or that we actually are the same person. We've never been in the same room at the same time, so we can put all those rumors to rest.

TVGuide.com: All we're missing is Wilmer [Valderrama].
Exactly. And the guy who played Tattoo.

TVGuide.com: What's the sum total of your role on Age of Love? Are you narrating, overseeing the elimination ceremony, is there any "guy talk" with the other Mark?
That's pretty much it — you nailed it. I narrate it, I'm his wingman/guy-talker.... I do referee a few of the eliminations, but we kind of felt that sometimes that was [Philippoussis'] realm and it was weird to have me jumping in it. But it was good, I had a great time doing it. I've obviously never done or hosted a reality show, and I found the whole process fascinating. And watching the differences between the two age groups was mind-blowing.

TVGuide.com: Have you turned down reality pitches in the past?
Consuelos: Yeah, I have, I absolutely have. I'll tell you honestly, I'm a big fan of reality, and this show kind of intrigued me. I thought it was really, really cool.

TVGuide.com: Is there a catchphrase for when Mark kicks somebody off? Like, "Our love is not for the ages"?
[Laughs] No, no.... There isn't a catchphrase, but I like the catchphrase of what the show is — "cougars versus kittens."

TVGuide.com: Someone here wanted me to ask you: Do you find the term "cougar" demeaning at all?
You know what? I don't. I guess some people do, but I really don't.

TVGuide.com: As if "kittens" is empowering.
Exactly. It kind of describes what the show is. I think you and I should push for them to change the title to "Cougars vs Kittens."

TVGuide.com: Take us through Mark's realization of the setup, because he didn't know going into this that he would be choosing from two different age groups.
This guy was engaged to an 18-year-old at some point; he had a past dating younger girls, that was his angle. When he met the 40-year-olds first, if a picture says a thousands words, he was like, "Whoa, what did I get myself into?" And then they put me out there to talk to him, and I was like, "Guys, he's going to want to kick my ass!" [Laughs] But the women that they chose.... Listen, 40-year-old women are sexy — I think they are — and he completely had a change of heart. My motto throughout the whole thing was, "Just go into it with an open mind." He was really surprised by what he learned.

TVGuide.com: Did any cougars prey on you when you were a strapping young thing on All My Children?
Um... no. I was pretty much taken by the time I was on the soap opera [where he met Ripa].

TVGuide.com: "Gosh darn it."
Yeah, yeah, I know. But my wife is six months older than me, so technically.... At some point she's going to be a cougar!

TVGuide.com: Assuming that Kelly was the first-best thing to come out of your soap run, what was the second-best thing?
Working. Just working every day as an actor. Obviously by year seven I was tired of working [laughs], but it was a great experience. I grew up on that show, becoming a husband and a father.

TVGuide.com: What gifts are you angling for this Father's Day?
Mets tickets. That's also a good Mother's Day present! And I travel a lot, so framed pictures of my kids.... Oh, and this is kind of a shameless plug, but I got an Oral B rechargeable toothbrush that I love.

TVGuide.com: That's what keeps your teeth so white?
Exactly. [Laughs] It's all about the teeth, dude.

TVGuide.com: Lastly, I must point this out to you. I was at the newsstand, and the cover of one tabloid announced, "Kelly's Secret Plan to Save Her Marriage." Two questions: Did I just spoil the "secret" for you? And might her "secret plan" work?
It always does. No, she has no secret plan, she always knows exactly what to do. We are extremely boring. If our lives were half as interesting as what goes on in the tabloids...

Let our snazzy Online Video Guide show you some Love with clips from NBC's new show.

Send your comments on this Q&A to online_insider@tvguide.com.