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Gentlemen, feast your eyes on the enemy. ROBERT BUCKLEY is setting women’s hearts aflutter with a pair of steamy (and shirtless) TV roles.

By Allison Winn Scotch

That sound you hear every Friday night at nine p.m. Central time is a collective purr from the country’s cougar population. They’ve set their sights on Robert Buckley, the 27-year-old with abs of steel who romances 39-year-old Kim Raver on NBC’s hit show Lipstick Jungle. This month, Buckley will be wooing another older woman, Heather Locklear, in Lifetime’s original movie Flirting with 40, in which a divorcée retreats to Hawaii and gets more than a tan when she meets the hunky surfer played by Buckley. (And all we got was this lousy T-shirt.) We spoke to Buckley about his newfound niche.

You were working as an economic consultant when someone suggested that you give acting a shot. How did your parents take it? They were amazingly supportive, especially considering they put me through university and I had a great job and I was walking away from all of it to become an actor. I think short of saying I was quitting to join the circus, they’d be supportive. But my father did a half season on the original Mickey Mouse Club, so that’s where it comes from.

How did you become the go-to guy for seducing older women?It’s just been a huge amount of good fortune. I did have a bit of a track record with it. My first on-screen kiss was Bo Derek [in the 2006 series Fashion House] and then Kim [Raver on Lipstick Jungle] and then Heather [Locklear in Flirting with 40] and now back to Kim. So I guess it is sort of my niche -- but if you’re going to have one, I think beautiful, incredible women is not a bad one to have.

Fashion House was not your first time on TV . You were once on The Price Is Right.It was awesome. The only thing that was not awesome was my performance. We were bidding on an exercise bike, which shows you how dated this is. I thought everyone was bidding too high -- and keep in mind now, it’s really crazy. It’s like sensory overload, being a contestant. So you go into a very primal level of thought. All I could think of was, Be the lowest bid, be the lowest bid. The lowest bid was $420, so I just shouted out “$419,” which obviously is a horrible answer; I’m limiting myself to one fixed value. You could hear the audience start to go, like, “What, what?” Bob Barker starts pulling out the card, then stops, and he goes, “That wasn’t the smartest bid you could have made, was it?”

You’re shirtless most of the time on Lipstick Jungle. Do you ever feel objectified? [Laughs] I don’t think I take myself nearly seriously enough to feel objectified. I feel flattered.

Older women -- yes or no?Yes. With an exclamation point!


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Getting to Know … Robert Buckley

Favorite vacation spot: “Venice, Florida. My family vacations there almost every summer. We rent a condo on the beach and spend the entire time in bathing suits and flip-flops, with the bulk of our activities usually involving the ocean, the pool, or a hammock.”

Go-to meal: “Sushi.”

High school sport: “Soccer. I was center midfielder, which meant I was able to play all over the field. This also meant I had to be able to run all over the field for 90 minutes without keeling over.”

Perfect first date: “Sushi, sake, good conversation.”

On his iPod: “It’s a ridiculous mix of everything from ’80s pop to hard rock and jazz. Right now, there’s a lot of hip-hop, like Jay-Z and Kanye West.”

On his DVR:It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 30 Rock. Both shows consistently remind me that I’m not nearly as funny as I like to believe I am.”

Favorite movie: “Anything by John Hughes. I’m a true child of the ’80s.”