"DATE MY DAD" & UP tv Reboot Fatherhood On Television
This weekend was a significant one for me. Why? Well, my oldest daughter graduated college. What an accomplishment -- she, the proud graduate and I, the proud mama.
As I looked back over the years of my raising her and the other three children on my own, I can’t help but take stock of the life we have lived since the death of my husband. She was five when it happened. We’ve come quite far from that point. None of it was easy, but it was real, filled with challenges and laughter every step of the way. And then there was the aspect of 'moving on' and finding someone new and different who could fit into our lives in the way all five of us wanted and needed.
Dating, in my life, became a family affair, including moments where my children lead the charge...so concerned were they for my own happiness when I, myself, wanted nothing more to do with trying to find a partner. I know some of you understand this. And certainly, actor Barry Watson also does in his own unique ways, including as the lead character in a new dramedy airing on June 2nd at 9pm Eastern on UP tv called 'Date My Dad".
This former 7th Heaven star is all grown up and playing Ricky Cooper, a young widower and father to three girls, all of whom want him to begin dating after the loss of their mom. Rachel Welch plays his mother-in-law (yes, you heard me) and the coming together of this cast and network could not make for a more entertaining, funny, and family-friendly series for families to share a bowl of popcorn over and some bonding time. In today’s television atmosphere, we need this, just as you need to learn more through Barry’s interview below.
What is your personal mantra?
Go with my first instinct -- what is right and what I believe in. I need to be honest with myself, and that keeps me moving in the right direction.
What drew you to the role of Ricky Cooper in "Date My Dad"?
I had a time when I was a single father for a couple of years. As a result, I had been looking for a single father role. I felt Ricky Cooper was very true to life, in my wheelhouse, and not a bumbling idiot like so many fathers on television are portrayed to be. He is doing the best he can, like we all try to do as parents. Additionally, my nine year-old son really wanted me to act in a show that he and I could watch and enjoy together.
What are you hoping Date My Dad will do most for the audience, beyond just entertaining them?
I hope that you can watch this show and relate to one or all of the characters in an honest way that makes sense.
Describe the aha moment which occurred during shooting that made you realize why Raquel Welch has been around for years.
From the first read-through forward.
You are playing a father. How are you different from Ricky? The same?
I’m a little more handy-around-the house than Ricky. But we share similarity in the love for our kids and the desire to mentor them to be great people one day.
What do you believe today’s television is missing that this show provides?
There is a lot of the same shows with different names. This show is unique, a sign of the times that demands this role and this show.
For those television viewers who do not watch UP tv, what can you say about the network that might just invite them to try it?
Their tag is “We get family”. The network is really trying to figure out what is missing on television today and fill it in a way that inspires parents and children, while making everyone feel comfortable watching television together as a family.
You were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while playing Matt Camden in ‘7th Heaven’. What was the silver lining in this experience? And how has that silver lining changed your life?
It made me approach life a little differently. Once I came out the other side of it, I asked myself “What is it that will make me feel fulfilled?” There has to be more than just the next role. I am more of an open person now than I ever was.
Share a social cause close to your heart.
My wife and I have been supporting Coach Art. It brings the arts and athletics to kids that are under-privileged. And also Leukemia-Lymphoma Society.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
As a good, honest, loyal person, who is open to life and not too judgemental.
Well, I have my Xfinity system set to record “Date My Dad”. I plan to watch it, together, with my six year-old son, which excites me as there isn’t much on television that compels me to spend time with him in this way.
Another aspect of this show that I can see benefiting child viewers, especially, is the positive male father-figure that is so needed in our ever-increasing “fatherless society”. Shows like this won’t fix that issue but they can definitely help. I have first-hand knowledge of the difficulties that occur when raising a family without a father as well as what success tastes like when you do it right and have the supports required along the way that help you, like “Date My Dad”. It tastes like graduation cake, with a smiling “employed” daughter standing confidently behind for her celebratory photo-op.
Congratulations to Barry Watson, the cast and crew of “Date My Dad” and UP tv. Thanks for caring enough about families to, actually, do something helpful for us.
Many thanks to Barry Watson and Jill Fritzo Public Relations for making this interview possible