Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Call him Joe Public.
Joseph Abboud, who has outfitted on-air talent for the past 14 years, is about to get his moment in front of the camera. The men’s wear designer is developing a new half-hour magazine-style TV show for Connecticut Public Television, called “Men in the Middle with Joseph Abboud.”
The show will be geared toward men in the prime of their lives, as well as the women they’re involved with, and will address such issues as maintaining health; losing a parent, spouse or job; sustaining an active lifestyle; handling professional success and failure; parenting issues, and retirement, said Abboud.
“We’ll try to open some of the doors men have been afraid to go into,” he said. “Some of it will be very amusing and some will be sadly serious.”
“There haven’t been a lot of relevant shows for men between 35 and 60. The dynamics of the baby boomers are incredible in terms of market power,” continued Abboud. “Martha Stewart has done a tremendous job of bringing style into everyday America, but it’s been skewed to women.”
Abboud hopes to get 24 episodes on the air next year. He will serve as the show’s host and will interview a guest, who will give his experiences and advice on a range of issues. Each episode will also feature field stories from special correspondents.
According to statistics provided by Abboud, public television reaches 87 million people a week, 36 percent of whom are men. Twenty percent of the male Public Broadcasting System audience is between 35 and 64.
According to Larry Rifkin, executive producer of “Men in the Middle with Joseph Abboud” and senior programming executive for Connecticut Public Television, the team is currently seeking underwriters for the show, which would air nationally.
Charles F. Rattigan is the producer and series creator.
“Our list is still forming,” said Rifkin. “We’re talking to people who have interest in reaching men in this age group,” such as companies in the retail, pharmaceutical, automotive and financial services categories.
Once the funding effort is completed, Rifkin said he hopes to begin production in the fall and be on air in spring 2003.
Among some of the shows that have been produced by Connecticut Public Television are “Barney & Friends,” “Patti LaBelle Live!” “One Night Only,” “Carole King: A New Colour in the Tapestry,” and “Mark Twain’s Neighborhood.”

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