|Jennifer Love Hewitt. (FayesVision/WENN.com)
For an employee at a massage parlour that's open to the public, Jennifer Love Hewitt's character in The Client List services a lot of bodybuilders.
In real life it would be more of a rogues' gallery, wouldn't it?
"Yeah, right? Absolutely," said Hewitt, whose series makes its Canadian debut Sunday on the spanking-new, north-of-the-border version of U.S. cable channel Lifetime.
"We had to be very careful that we weren't, on a women's network, only giving eye candy to men. It was our tongue-in-cheek way to say, 'We'll give you a montage of all the hottest clients.'
"I think in season two hopefully we'll balance that out, just to tell some interesting stories."
All 10 first-season episodes already have aired in the U.S., and a second season has been ordered. The series gained notoriety immediately because of the provocative publicity art featuring Hewitt, but in many ways The Client List is a family drama wrapped in sexy clothing.
The series focuses on a Texas mother of two named Riley Parks (Hewitt), who faces financial distress when she's deserted by her troubled husband. Riley, a trained masseuse, innocently takes a job at a spa but quickly realizes some of her co-workers are providing "other" services.
The girls who are more flexible, so to speak, earn a lot more money. So Riley has choices to make.
Hewitt, 33, has been a staple on the entertainment scene for close to two decades, largely through her TV roles on Party of Five and Ghost Whisperer, as well as the I Know What You Did Last Summer movies. So did Hewitt have to be talked into The Client List, given the sexual side of the story and the skimpy attire in certain scenes?
"Um, I think I had to talk myself into it," Hewitt said. "And the only part I had to talk myself into is, 'Am I willing to be slightly hungry?' Ultimately my decision was yes, because of the full character.
"If there was any convincing on the racy part of it, I think after that first day of standing in lingerie in front of the crew, and some strange actor I had not met before, I was kind of like, 'Okay, this is going to be fine, this is not as bad as I thought it was going to be.'
"But I had that same moment Riley did (in the first episode), when I had to take a breath behind the screen and sort of go, 'Okay, here we go.' "
Through the years Hewitt has amassed a loyal TV audience that has followed her from project to project, no matter how different they've been. But she's convinced The Client List has expanded her fan base in an ironic way for a female-focused channel such as Lifetime.
"I definitely think men have joined more of that audience, given the nature of the show, and the outfits on the show, those kinds of things," said Hewitt, laughing.
So apparently The Client List is for everyone. You don't even have to be a bodybuilder.