"Fairy Jobmother" brings tough love to U.S. TV

Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:54pm EDT
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By Jan Paschal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Call it post-recession reality TV. What the world needs now, it seems, is love, tough love from "The Fairy Jobmother," a new television show that is the latest British import for U.S. audiences.

Hayley Taylor, 43, a former hairdresser turned career coach, stars as a tart-tongued Mary Poppins with a clipboard who visits the home of one unemployed family per episode to help them get control of their personal lives and find jobs.

"Nobody likes to be told the truth," Taylor said in an interview with Reuters. "But it's tempered with compassion ... if a house is totally out of control, then it follows that the person feels out of control."

In her role as "Fairy Jobmother," which debuts Thursday on Lifetime Television, Taylor tells one young, unemployed couple with two kids that they must clean up their home, which means getting rid of dog feces on a carpet pad in the bedroom.

Executive producer Stephen Lambert calls Taylor's advice "classic tough love" but adds that "she cares about them a great deal."

"It's that combination of push and warmth," Lambert said, that endeared Taylor to British TV audiences and, in his opinion, will strike a chord with American viewers as well.

The hit British import makes its U.S. debut at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is 9.6 percent and the economy is struggling to emerge from the deepest recession since the Great Depression. In the UK, the jobless rate is 7.8 percent.

"The timing is absolutely perfect," Taylor said, regarding the show's debut in America.   Continued...

<p>A woman (2nd L) speaks with a job recruiter at a job fair at Union Square in New York October 25, 2010. The job fair was part of a promotion for the new Lifetime TV show "The Fairy Jobmother" hosted by Hayley Taylor. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>