Would-be Reality Star SAHDs: the producers of American Idol, X-Factor, America’s Got Talent and a major cable network, are currently developing a show featuring stay-at-home fathers. They are looking for fathers with 2 or more children living in the Midwest area (which to them probably means not NYC or LA).
Criteria: Who: Stay-at-home fathers with 2 or more children Location: Midwest Online Application Process: Name: City: Phone: Email address: Your story: (how long have you been a stay at home dad, how has the adjustment been, what did you do before and what is a typical day like for you) Snapshot of entire family: Wife’s Profession: Any notable parenting groups or orgs you are part of: Please send your submissions or questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, be careful what you wish for. Way back in the Stone Age, DadLabs had a deal with the largest producer of unscripted shows on cable to make a “docu-soap” about our lives. We had some great meals with execs, they sent a crew down to follow us around for a few days, and ten cut together a sizzle reel. We were all very excited by the prospect of what a show would do for our business, a bit more sanguine about what it would do for our kids.
The stuff shot in the office and studio was super fun. It turned our little gig into even more of a sitcom than it usually is. The home stuff was complicated. Ever had family dinner with three cameras swirling around? For me, a voice started chattering in my head asking me if every word I said to my kids was authentic or some kind of a performance. I worried what that kind of multi dimensional life would do to the kids.
The most uncomfortable moment came when they asked to film me tucking my daughter in. She was probably about 8 at the time. I read to her, tucked her in, turned out the light and kissed her good night, pretty much like I do to this day. Except with a camera and sound guy in the room. Then they asked if I could do it again, but this time, wait to turn out the light after I kissed her goodnight. I agreed, but again that voice warned me that I might be damaging the authenticity of my relationship with my daughter.
Obviously, we didn’t have to worry too much about it. Who would have guessed that a reality show based on our lives would not be hugely compelling? The producers shopped the show to all major cable networks. All recoiled in horror.
In retrospect, and at the risk of being “sour grapes,” I’m glad they did. Not that you shouldn’t try out for this show. And when you do, make sure they get footage of you visiting DadLabs. Maybe we could end up on reality TV after all.