Friday, November 29, 2013

Jeff Timmons and the varying “Degrees” of boy banders on TV

Emily Gagne

Could Timmons' new reality series cool his career off, JC Chasez style, or take it to sizzling, Donnie Wahlberg-only levels?

98 Degrees was definitely the most lukewarm of the ’90s boy bands (at least in terms of fandom). But the group — a side piece to the mega meals that were the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC — is really starting to gain some heat these days, what with several of its members finding their way to the small screen.
The main face of 98 Degrees, Mr. Nick Lachey, has been on the tube for quite some time (more on that below) but now Jeff Timmons, that other non-Lachey-family hottie from the band, is following in Lachey’s footsteps, agreeing to star in a reality series following the lives of male strippers.
Yes, in the years following the mutual disbanding of 98 Degrees, Timmins turned stripping, joining infamous male revue troupe Chippendale’s before deciding to start his own Las Vegas club, Men of the Strip. But he’s trying to make it rain bills higher than one dollar these days, as he’s just signed a deal with an unknown network to turn Men on the Strip into a hit show. As Timmons told Billboard recently, the plan is to debut the, uh, fruits of his labour to the public next spring, around the same time Men of the Strip opens its doors in Sin City.
Slightly racy show content aside, it’s safe to say Timmons just made a smart business move. The 98 Degrees boys have really done well on primetime. Aside from Nick, they do have to cherish the success of Drew Lachey, who has appeared on Dancing With the Stars twice, winning the Mirrorball once (Justin Jeffre, meanwhile, has stayed out of the spotlight, pursuing Ohio politics until joining the boys for a reunion tour this summer). Plus, the small screen has become a bit of a safe haven for ex-boy banders, both in terms of scripted and reality programming.
As we anxiously await a peek at Timmons’ primetime package, let’s explore the varying degrees of success he could achieve by looking at some singing and dancing dudes of DVR passes past and present.
PRETTY COOL (JC Chasez, Nick Carter)
Listen, the man responsible for the most underappreciated NSYNC solo project known to man (Schizophrenic) has also been pretty cool in the right way, showing off his swagger whenever the camera and/or mic pulled away from Justin Timberlake.” But his efforts to expand into TV have gotten a fairly chilly reception. Basically, he spent a few years as a judge on Randy Jackson Presents America’s Next Dance Crew and did guest spots onLas Vegas and Ghost Whisperer.
BSB boy Carter, on the other hand, has simply been seen on the reality show Meet the Carters, which also featured his less successful, but equally “Crush”-worthy bro Aaron. He gets extra points for his cameo on 8 Simple Rules, but loses them immediately for having been on the new 90210.
If Timmons wants to move above this, hes got to have some mild success with this Men on the Strip show. It could be as easy as getting attached to a network that appreciates fallen ’90s stars like a VH1 or E!
LUKEWARM (Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Shaun Stockman)
As for JC’s bandmate Lance, while he stayed off screen for a while after the less-than-heated reaction to his role in On the Line, his primetime resume has gotten beefy in recent years, with him grabbing guest spots on Cupcake Wars, Gravity Falls and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and competing, much like Drew Lachey, on Dancing With the Stars. He’s also in the midst of producing some new TV pilots, including a comedy alongside SNL‘s Cheri Oteri.
Meanwhile, fellow NSYNC-er Fatone has had some previous success with reality TVAfter the show that gave him his first big TV role, My Big Fat Greek Life, got cancelled, he hosted The Singing Bee for both the US and Australia. He then became the announcer for the Steve Harvey years of Family Feud and got his own cooking show called My Family Recipe Rocks. With that latter series under his belt, he nabbed a part as a contestant on an “all-star” version of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. He didn’t win, but he did get some money for charity and is currently playing the Bob Barker role for Las Vegas’s Price is Right Live!
Moving on to Stockman, whom you may recall as one of the Boys II Men. Although he has an ongoing gig as a judge on The Sing-Off, that’s all he’s really done on TV thus far. One more project and I’d say he could move up a degree. I’d say the same for Timmons.
HOT (Nick Lachey) 
The elder Lachey really got his first taste of solo stardom when he allowed MTV cameras to follow him and then-wife Jessica Simpson for the show Newlyweds back in 2003. After some fun guest roles on One Tree Hill, Charmed and American Dreams, Lachey NBC acapella singing competition series The Sing-Off a few years back, which would lead to gigs heading up Stars Earn Stripes and The Winner Is. He shows no signs of stopping either, especially with his wifey, former ET and TRL correspondent Vanessa Minnillo also in the biz (she’s currently playing one of the ladies of Dads).
Timmons has a long way to go if he wants to get here. But he does have Lachey’s personal number and can always ask him for career advice, right?
SUPER HOT (Justin Timberlake)
JT doesn’t do TV all the time, but when he does, he does it up! The man’s in the SNL Five-Timers Club for a reason, having brought us some of the most memorable skits of recent years (see: “Dick in a Box,” “The Barry Gibb Talk Show” and anything with that singing mascot guy who brought us all down to Omeletteville). He’s returning to show again later this month too, playing “performer” to pal Jimmy Fallon “host” (let’s face — these two are co-hosting).
SIZZLING (The Donnie Wahlberg)
No other boy bander can come near Donnie D on TV. Not only does the dude have a recurring role on a high-rated CBS show (Blue Bloods), he’s constantly making the talk-show rounds, either to promote New Kids on the Block’s latest reunion tour effort or to just be his charming self. He’s even attached himself to another TV star – The View‘s Jenny McCarthy — and has plans to produce a show about his family burger biz (Wahlburgers) alongside his bro Mark (he’s previously done behind-the-scenes stuff for Boston’s Finest).
It’s doubtful that Timmons can get to this stage ever, but if he tries, I bet he could get Donnie, a known ham with a hard bod for miles, to go sans shirt for an episode. You know, in the sake of boy-bander-turned-TV-star solidarity.