'Manny' the nanny catches on with women

Melissa & Joey proves to be a magnet for female viewers and a formula for sitcom success as its second season gets under way.

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At first glance, Melissa & Joey looks a little too catchy, too high-concept.

The pitch: When her sister ends up in prison, the ex-wild-child-turned-female-politician Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) takes custody of her teenage niece and nephew. But with Mel spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of an ex-stockbroker, Joey (Joey Lawrence), who moves in to becomes the family's "manny".

But the show has caught on big-time. It's rated number one among women in the 18 to 49 age group in its time slot in the US — and now this hit comedy series has returned for a second season. When we last saw M&J, both their friendship and household were falling apart, especially after a plumbing calamity caved in the second floor, and Joey nearly moved out.

In this week's episode "If You Can't Stand The Heat", the second of the new season, Mel finds herself yielding to the charms of her new "cabinet guy". She's irked by Joey's reaction to him, which spurs a fight about being over-involved in each other's lives. Will their decision to give each other more privacy work out? Don't bet on it.

When it comes to raising teens in real life, Hart says: "You should probably do everything opposite of what my character Mel does on the show."

Melissa & Joey is broadcast at 7.30pm on Fridays on OSN Comedy and 9.30pm on Fridays on OSN Comedy +2. Please see listings for more viewing times.