Hot—some would say red-hot—off the heels of his successful gig emceeing for the Chippendales in Vegas, Jeff Timmons, everbuff founding member of 98°, has launched an equally sexy venture with acclaimed choreographer Glenn Packard: Men of the Strip.
The concept is that Jeff and a troupe of too-hot show-offs are touring the country with a tight stage show, with the whole thing being filmed.
I caught up with my old buddies (98° was the first pro photo shoot I ever assigned) to get the not-so-skinny on their ripped revue...
Boy Culture: How do you describe Men of the Strip?
Glenn Packard: It's the newest and sexiest male revue show that will be touring, shooting a docuseries for a major network and will also have a home in Las Vegas. Jeff and I are taking male revue to the next level—we are presenting a younger, hipper edge.
BC: How were the guys selected?
GP: We went to some of the sexiest cities in America, like Miami, New York City, L.A., and Vegas. The guys auditioning learned a choreographed routine from me, then sat down with Jeff and I, and we asked them 25 questions that would get them through to the next round. Once we narrowed it down to our favorites, I chose the dream eight by personality, talent and who I thought would represent our brand to its fullest.
Jeff Timmons: I had my favorites, but kept picking the wrong guys. [Laughs] I was picking guys I thought were funny and interesting, but Glenn kept telling me they weren't sexy enough, or didn't have the "It" factor. In retrospect, knowing the guys like I do now, Glenn was brilliant in selecting the right cast.
BC: Is there a variety of men for a variety of tastes?
GP: Yes, of course. I mean, certain women have different tastes, so you don't want to just put on stage one type of guy. We have it all with these eight guys.
JT: My experience when I hosted for another brand was just as Glenn explained. Girls had very distinct tastes in the types of guys that they were in to. It was interesting to process.
GP: Jeff is wearing a lot of hats in this empire we are building: He is the host and singer of the show, and also stepping in and working on the business part of this brand we are building.
JT: It's not altogether different from when we started 98°. We believed in ourselves more than anyone else, so we had to do everything ourselves. We were the artists, marketers, promoters and businessmen in our venture. This project has a little more pressure to it, in that Glenn and I have both been successful in the business for a long time, so the expectations are exponentially higher.
BC: To reference a pop cultural touchstone, how similar to Magic Mike is this show...and how different from Magic Mike is this show?
GP: It's similar, as we have a youthful look to the show. The guys have the moves like Magic Mike. But it's different 'cuz it's working up to this grand Las Vegas show. It's going to have all the elements you would expect when walking into a show in Vegas: BIG EVERYTHING!
JT: Magic Mike was still a "club" type of show. We're shooting to step the production value up quite a bit, and also take the male revue genre mainstream.
BC: Will the show be really racy, or can you take Grandma?
GP: The show will have many different elements and numbers catering to all different types of women's fantasies. So yes, bring Grandma! She needs to let loose, too.
JT: Yes, we want fans of all ages to come and experience the show.
BC: Are men welcome?
GP: Yes, men are welcome. The gay men will enjoy the eye candy and I assume a straight man will be in the audience 'cuz either his wife dragged him there, or he has a freaky marriage. But I'm making this show for the ladies!
JT: Glenn may be creating this show for the ladies, but guys are very much welcome to come to the show. I think gay or straight, guys will love the energy of the show that emanates from both the guys and the mostly female audience. And for straight guys, it's the dream venue to meet very "excited" and energized women.
BC: What will the reality-show element focus on?
GP: We know what happens during a male revue show, but what is life like for these guys when the lights go off?
JT: Exactly! We can dial up the production of the show, find the perfect performers, etc., but people will be surprised about how interesting these guys are, and how they interact with each other offstage.
BC: Glenn, who is your favorite star (besides Jeff!) you've ever worked with, and what were they like? Who is your least favorite star (besides Jeff!) you've ever worked with?
GP: Of course, Michael Jackson is up there on this list. Everyone in my industry knows that if you've worked with the King of Pop, you have made a name for yourself. I worked with P!nk at the beginning of her career, and I have to say she was one of my favorites to work with, and I knew she was going to blow up. Also, Ricky Martin isn't a bad day's work to go in and work with.
My least favorite would have to be Whitney Houston. I worked with her on the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Special, and that wasn't a very pleasant moment in her career.
BC: Glenn, can anyone learn to dance, as on Dancing with the Stars, or is it a got-it-or-don't-got-it kinda thing?
GP: I do think anyone can move, but there is a select group whose musicality is just not there. Like Kate Gosselin on Dancing with the Stars. You try your best to do some tricks to hide the fact that they have no rhythm to save their lives. I have had a couple artists and even male revue guys in my career that have zero rhythm...it's a lot of work, to say the least!
BC: For each of you, who are your idols?
GP: My idols in the industry are people like Stephen Spielberg, Oprah, Wes Craven and Bob Fosse. But my true idols are my parents, Roger and Paulette Packard. They made me the man I am today. Dad showed me what hard work is all about, and Mom showed me the meaning of love. They both have strong morals and are very family-oriented. I'm extremely lucky to have such great parents.
JT: Not trying to steal Glenn's answer, but my idols are my folks as well. I strive every day to accomplish one-tenth of what my farther has accomplished. Nobody dislikes the guy. He's a true inspiration. My mother is nurturing, loving and funny, and was all about her kids.
In the business, I love Michael Jackson's artistry. I'm a huge fan of Ne-Yo, Brian McKnight, Joe, Boyz II Men, Journey, The Eagles, Boston, and Metallica to name a few. I'm just a big ol' fan of music