Mark Consuelous and JD Roth try and find out if love is ageless

How important is age where matters of the heart are concerned?

That is a question that will be put to test on the new NBC show Age of Love. In the show, host Mark Consuelous (All My Children) will bring us into the dating world of Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis. On the show Philippoussis will date 13 women ranging in age from 21 to 48 years old. The central theme of the show is: Is love ageless? Can somebody date someone older or younger than them without their being issues?

We recently sat in on a conference call with Mark Consuelous and executive producer JD Roth as they discussed this show, its issues and the age old questions of love.

Mark, if Kelly Ripa was 10 to 15 years older would that have changed things up in the relationship?

Mark Consuelous: That's a great question. She technically is a little older than me. So, absolutely not. I don't think it would have changed anything. I've been married eleven years and one thing I know is how to answer questions about this. (Laughs) That absolutely would not have changed a thing. I probably would have been a little hotter for her, how's that?

Have you ever been seduced in that situation?

Mark Consuelous: It's been such a long time (laughs)... I distinctly remember, I must've been 21 or 22, before I moved to New York and I definitely had a thing for a lady who was close to her forties. Timing is everything and obviously and it didn't work out, I moved to New York. Absolutely, its happened and I was completely open to it.

Mark Philippoussis thought he was doing a regular dating show, he didn't know the twist about the age, did he gradually discover it? How was that brought to his attention?

JD Roth: Here's what happened, he thought he was going to be on a normal dating show. He thought that the girls were going to be young and beautiful. They are very beautiful. They've got great jobs and careers and families. When the first one came out and said, "Hi, how are you? I was born in 1967 and that makes me 40 years old" he was definitely shocked. When the second one came out and said, "I'm 42," he got even more shocked. By the time the third one came out I think he started to realize there was a pattern forming, by that point it went systemic. It went from his head to his toes and he kind of chuckled a little bit like, "Oh my God," and to his credit, because I know Mark Consuelos, he's sitting right next to me, I said, "I haven't had butterflies in my stomach like this in a long time." The guy is 6 foot 5 and throws the ball at 100 mph...

Mark Consuelous: Guess who they sent out to talk to him right after that? Me, I'm like 5 foot 2!

JD Roth: To his credit he handled himself very well and he tried to keep an open mind. He really did embrace the idea and then something really weird happened. He started falling for them. Just as he starts to fall for the forty year olds and understands that there is a sophistication and a life experience to them, we introduce him to a group of 20 year old girls that he had no idea was coming.

JD, what did you tell the older women involved with the show as you were casting?

JD Roth: We told the forty year old women that this was a show about successful, empowered positive women. We didn't mention that there were any 20 year olds involved. We mentioned that there was a bachelor that didn't know that they were older. To see these women... they're hot women. It's very hard standing nose to nose to think they are anything over 28, 29. They're engaging women too. We had the benefit of traveling with casting teams across the United States to find the 7 most perfect women over 40 years old.

Is Mark P. a chivalrous man?

Mark Consuelous: I would say Yes, wouldn't you say, JD?

JD Roth: Yeah, no doubt. I think you said it best. He's a throwback.

Mark Consuelous: He's a gentlemen. I think he went into this really looking to find someone. You'll see throughout the show that he's a standup guy. He's not just looking for what you think he's looking for. He's not making out with everybody. He's really conscientious about some of the decisions he's making... in many of the decisions he makes.

Has the show wrapped? And, assuming the show takes off is there room for a sequel? Could you franchise it out?

JD Roth: Yeah, we're done shooting. It went really, really well. Right now I've got edit bays going basically 24 hours a day, round the clock, seven days a week. As we're trying to make air for the show. We definitely feel that the show works, that there's multiple seasons here because I don't think the question is ever going to get old. We'd love to do the flip of the show. If the show works you're going to see more of it.

Age of Love debuts on Monday, June 18 from 9-10 p.m. on NBC.

Evan Jacobs