'Blue Collar' star takes on family life in new sitcom

Dressed in worn blue jeans, white sneakers and a blue collared shirt (no pun intended), Bill Engvall casually walks into the dining room of the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. He looks like he could be any normal guy.

But he's not. He's Bill Engvall, one of the stars of the smash hit "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" and now star of the TBS sitcom, "The Bill Engvall Show."

Fame seems lost on Engvall, who insists that despite his rising celebrity status, he's just your average family guy.

"People think I don't have a normal life, but when I'm home, I'd dad. I'm honey," Engvall said during a recent interview. "I'm just Bill. I pick up dog mess in the backyard. I take out the trash and wash the car and try to fix stuff."

It's this model husband/father character that Engvall embodies in his new TV series, which premiered Tuesday on TBS. The show will air at 9 p.m. Tuesdays. That's not to say, though, that Engvall plays himself. Rather, he becomes Will Pearson, a family counselor with three children and a loving wife.

"Some of the ideas come from my real life," he said. "Some ideas are also just things we know regular families deal with. We deal with everyday issues, from piercing to bad grades."

Much like in his stand-up comedy, Engvall has conjured the quintessential spirit of the American family in his show. Unlike past hit family shows, such as "Roseanne" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," this family doesn't yell and insult each other, Engvall said.

"This is a family sitcom with a normal, American family. They are not dysfunctional, and there isn't all the yellin' and the screamin'. I'm willing to say that this family is like most families in this country," he said. "But still, they're funny and you really believe they love each other."

Through the show, Engvall is hoping to show a side of America many people know in their own lives, but rarely see reflected on TV. In the pilot episode, for example, the family sits down together at the dinner table and prays over their food.

"I love that they all sit at the table and say grace," he said. "That is what so many American families do but you never see anyone on TV do that. I love that TBS is not afraid to let us be this family."

Though Engvall became a household name thanks to the multi-part comedy series "Blue Collar Comedy Tour," fans of the redneck-humor show may be disappointed to hear that neither Engvall's "here's your sign" schtick nor his fellow Blue Collar buddies will make appearances on the show. Even if the Pearsons' cable goes out, don't expect to see Larry the Cable Guy show up at the door.

"Nope, I just don't see that happening," he said. "That is all a part of Bill Engvall's life. And here, I'm not Bill Engvall. I'm Will Pearson."

Admittedly, while being the head of two households - even if one is fictional - has its perks, it can also be downright confusing.

"Being on the show is like a dream, and I just keep waiting for reality to set in. But having two families like this can be eerie, for sure," Engvall said. "I just keep hoping I don't call out the wrong wife's name at an inappropriate moment."