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Monday, February 21, 2005

Sports Reality TV That Could Be On Its Way

Let's face it, there's no sports reality TV that can top the run that the Boston Red Sox had last year or that could top the Cinderella-like story of Smarty Jones. That was really good stuff, and baseball and horse racing captivated the sports nation's attention last year.

For most of us, that's the type of sports reality that we like to see. We're not as big fans of, for instance, ESPN's made-for-TV entertainment (such as the Texas A&M players with the Australian accents), the World Series of Poker or Ultimate Fighting Championships. Or anything on Pay-Per-View. That stuff has its place for certain viewers, but I don't think for most of us.

One of the toughest jobs in the entertainment world is creating new programs for all of the TV channels that are out there. Some of us are wont to say that the more stations that are out there, the less there is to watch. So, if Anna Nicole Smith, Ozzie Osbourne and the Gottis can get their own reality shows, there is room out there in the sports world for the following:

1. The Ozzie and Jose Show. In the 1950's there was "Ozzie and Harriet," an all-American pastime in and of itself, so we figure that in the 21st century there should be Ozzie and Jose, featuring the Canseco brothers, one of whom helped deflower the national pastime as we knew it. See them get into bar fights, see them get big, see them go to the local batting cages and hit prodigious shots. See them drive fast cars, make friends and name names. Should be a go on one of the cable networks, and reports are that John Walsh has been asked to host.

2. Iron Coach. The Food Network has gotten a ton of yardage about face-offs between celebrity chefs, and this show will feature face-offs between celebrity college basketball coaches. The pilot will feature Louisville's Rick Pitino and Memphis's John Calipari, either playing paintball against one other, debating, slinging mud or mud wrestling. This show will not be for the faint of heart, and there will be no "Kumbaya" singing on this show. One episode, featuring a "Pin the Motivational Strategy" on Mizzou mentor Quin Snyder, also is being planned.

3. Pimp My School. Buoyed by the success of MTV's "Pimp My Ride," Snoopp Doggy will take over for XBizkit and visit colleges whose football or hoops programs have a history of faring terribly at the Division 1 level. Snoopp will field letters from beleagured fans, and then take his crew (consisting of parolees from the NCAA's sanctions program and nefarious boosters) to your school to, well, give its programs some life. Among the early candidates are Temple's and Duke's football programs, Duquesne's and Penn State's basketball programs. If you've watched the MTV show, you'll know that the Yugo that goes into the shop on a Monday comes out as a souped-up Herman Munster mobile on a Friday. Potentially the blockbuster of the reality shows. Especially when the prosecutors and FBI agents come calling.

4. Hard Court TV. Hosted by Nancy Grace, who has charmed CNN audiences with her imitation of Major Hofstadter of "Hogan's Heroes" fame when talking about any notorious defendant currently on trial in the American court system, this show will focus on day-to-day life with the Portland Trail Blazers. There might even be some shots of game action, time permitting.

5. The Commish. NHL boss Gary Bettman will be miked as he goes through his daily chores trying to lead the world's now-dormant preeminent professional hockey league. After a series of negotiations, the Ancient Eight owners that really run the NHL have agreed not to censor the daily musings of this one-time David Stern protege. There are rumors that this show might not run for more than one canceled season.

The guys at ESPN, HBO, Showtime, the major networks and the minor networks have their work cut out for them. The one thing they have going for them is that the public is clamoring for this type of stuff, and some of the shows have great potential. I mean, if Anna Nicole and the Gottis have drawn and audience, these guys should fare far better.

And if all of these ideas, fail, there's always Mike Tyson.


Anonymous Veronica Coombs said...

What about "So You Think You're an Athlete", a reality show contest where regular people compete in a wide range of sports to figure out who is the best all-around athlete. Could have a day or two of coaching by professional athletes before each competition (to increase the viewer appeal).

11:54 AM  

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