Scott Baio stars as David Hobbs in "See Dad Run."
Nick at Nite
Scott Baio stars as David Hobbs in "See Dad Run."

Story highlights

Scott Baio's "See Dad Run" makes its time slot debut Sunday on Nick at Nite

Baio plays David Hobbs on the network's first scripted series

Baio, who is a dad, said the premise of "See Dad Run" lured him back

CNN —  

From the men on “Guys with Kids” to “The New Normal’s” dads-to-be, prime time is full of fathers.

And it’s not just NBC. ABC’s “Last Man Standing,” which stars veteran TV dad Tim Allen, will premiere its second season in November, while ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy” will be back with season 2 in 2013.

Yep. It’s a good time to be a TV dad. Just ask Scott Baio. The former “Happy Days” and “Charles in Charge” stars’ “See Dad Run” is making its time slot debut on Nick at Nite Sunday.

Baio plays David Hobbs on the network’s first scripted series. Hobbs is an actor, famous for playing “America’s favorite dad” on TV, who decides to stay at home with his three kids after his sitcom comes to an end and his wife (Alanna Ubach) goes back to work as an actress.

The show-within-a-show premise prompts most of the laughs. Like when Hobbs recycles lines from his sitcom to try and communicate with his lovelorn teenage daughter (Ryan Newman).

“I promise you,” he recites, “there’s one guy that will always be there for you no matter what.”

It’s been awhile since Baio’s fans have seen him in this capacity. After an arc on the third season of “Arrested Development” and two VH1 reality shows, the actor said he wanted to focus on his family and the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation, named after his daughter, which supports families affected by metabolic disorders.

As a dad, Baio told CNN it was the premise of “See Dad Run” that lured him back to the soundstage, the same one “Happy Days” was filmed on, no less.

“I related to it easily and that was it,” he said.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Baio has cared for kids on TV. On the CBS sitcom “Charles in Charge,” which ran from 1984 to 1990, Baio played a 19-year-old student who babysat three children in exchange for room and board.

“There’s nothing new under the sun. No new ideas,” Baio said. “This is an idea that’s not particularly original, but it’s fun and it’s funny.”

What makes “See Dad Run” different, Baio said, is the fact that “it’s a story about a guy who is not an idiot like a lot of TV dads are. He’s just … playing catch up (after playing a dad on TV for 10 years), and he’ll never really get there because nobody every really gets there.”

Being a dad in real life is “helpful” when it comes to playing a dad on “See Dad Run,” Baio said, adding, it has shaped the way he approaches his character.

“You don’t really know what the hell you’re doing most of the time anyway,” Baio said. “I just sort of get through the day hoping I didn’t screw it up totally. So that’s what I try to do on the show, not screw up my kids emotionally.”