Joey Fatone: Kelly Jordan/Globe Photos
Liane Bonin
June 12, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Somewhere, Lance Bass is kicking himself. While the ‘N Sync heartthrob got stuck between Sheila E. and Danny Bonaduce judging NBC’s ”America’s Most Talented Kid,” his bandmate Joey Fatone has the stage all to himself as the host of NBC’s new reality show ”Fame” (Wed., 8 p.m.). talked to Fatone, 26, about his silly streak, why song and dance is harder than it looks, and which fans aren’t as much fun.

So, did you squeeze Lance for talent show pointers before signing on for ”Fame”?
Oh, I did my own stupid thing. I wanted to do this because I thought it was pretty cool that this show gives an opportunity to younger kids than some of the other shows. Plus, it didn’t hurt that I was a big fan of both the original movie and the TV show.

What do you think of the kids on the show?
They’re inspirational, because they’re really hard working. They’re honestly striving to be their best, and you can see their minds working a mile a minute trying to learn choreography, dancing — so much stuff every day. It’s hard work and it’s stressful, but I think they’re enjoying it. And I really hope it gives the people watching an understanding of what we do as performers. They go through pretty much the same thing [‘N Sync does] when we rehearse for a tour, doing choreography day in and day out while we’re also practicing the songs. In the real world, you have to learn everything all at once, too.

If ”Fame” doesn’t live forever, what are you up to next?
It’s been nice since ?N Sync took a break, because I’ve had time off to spend with my girl and my daughter [Brianna, his daughter with girlfriend Kelly Baldwin, was born in 2001]. But, honestly, I’m ready to work a little bit now. I’m doing the ”Fame” thing, and after that the group starts writing another album in September. Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a little [solo] recording time in between.

How are you juggling being the only member of ‘N Sync who’s a daddy?
You take it one day at a time. Right now my daughter can go with me pretty much wherever I go, so it’s nice. But when she’s old enough to go to school, it’s going to suck, because we’ll be apart a lot more.

J.C. Chasez mentioned you’re working on parodies of ‘N Sync songs for your solo album. Are you really the group funny guy?
Funny looking maybe, but I don’t know if I’m really the funny one. I’m recording more original songs than anything for the album, and I don’t want to tell you too much about those. But there are two or three tracks on the album that are parodies. I’m just silly that way. That’s me, just silly!

How do you like getting recognized for ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? Lots of grandmas pinching your cheeks?
It’s funny to meet the different kinds of fans and see how they treat you differently. It’s really weird. The ?N Sync fans are like, Aaaaah! and want autographs. They’re very excited, very happy. And the movie fans are more serious, saying stuff like, ”You know, I love your work.”

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