NEW ORLEANS — Actress Tempestt Bledsoe says she’s thrilled to be returning to network television on a show that portrays “a positive black family” similar to the hit sitcom she was part of for roughly eight years, The Cosby Show.
That show was my childhood, said Bledsoe, who played middle child Vanessa Huxtable in the NBC show that also starred Bill Cosby,
Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Lisa Bonet and Keshia Knight Pulliam.
“It did so many things. It greatly influenced the kinds of projects I did. It helped form my core values.”
Bledsoe and actor Anthony Anderson spoke recently about the new show they're starring in, Guys with Kids, which premieres this fall on NBC. The co-stars said they were thrilled the show will spotlight a “positive black family on network television.”
“We just don't have that right now, not on network television,” said Anderson, who has two children of his own. “Like the Cosby Show, this will be an opportunity to see the love, support, humor and beauty of a black family on TV.”
The show, produced by Jimmy Fallon, is about three 30-something new dads trying to hold on to their youth.
Guys With Kids will also star Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos and actors Zach Cregger and Jesse Bradford.
One of the characters is a single dad, another is a working father and Anderson's character is a stay-at-home dad raising four young sons.
Bledsoe, who plays Anderson’s working wife, chuckled as she spoke about his character’s daily challenges wrangling the children, including twins under the age of 2.
“There's nothing funnier,” Bledsoe said. “This role was tailor-made for Anthony.”
Anderson said he was drawn to the role for several reasons, including his strong feelings about the importance of having a father figure and that his character “chooses” to stay at home with his children rather than be forced to do so because he lost his job.
He said that in these tough economic times, more dads are choosing to stay home in part because of child care costs.
“A lot of them get funny looks because it’s not what people are used to seeing, and this show reflects this new dynamic in the American family,” he said.
Photo: Anthony Anderson and Tempestt Bledsoe