Programming

Left Coast Bias: Ric Flair, Lawrence Taylor Eye Reality Series

Ex-wrestler 'Nature Boy,' ex-N.Y. Giant 'LT' shopping reality projects 11/17/2008 03:19:00 AM Eastern



B&C in 2: Waiting for 'The Big One'
B&C Editor Ben Grossman explains why he hasn't—and won't—read this week's cover story about how California stations are preparing for the next massive earthquake.

If you thought the smackdown between Barack Obama and John McCain was the most hard-hitting reality television out there, prepare for a surprise. There are a couple of projects being pitched around right now that might put up a fight for that coveted crown.

Reality television is often the place for the tragically spotlight-addicted to find that 16th minute of fame. But there are two people out there right now that I'm guessing someone may take a flyer on if the formats are right: Ric Flair and Lawrence Taylor.

It is easy to sit here and say how pathetic either would be: just another former star trying to hang on to some limelight. But while this publication and every other likes to sit on its high horse and bemoan the lack of quality television these days, if I am a programmer at a cable network looking to break through, I'd probably be the first to take a long, hard look at either of the guilty pleasures in the making with these guys' names attached.

Let's start with Ric Flair, a former professional wrestler. Known as “The Nature Boy,” Flair has borderline-deity status among the wrestling masses. And while your first instinct may be to mock that demo, you may want to call up Bonnie Hammer at USA Network or Greg Meidel at MyNetworkTV before you do so.

Apparently the format being shopped focuses on Flair mentoring his son Reid, who also aspires to the wrestling ranks.

Yawn.

But it is Flair's personal life that could provide the memorable moments. During upfront week at NBC's little Rockefeller Plaza carnival, I got introduced to Flair and asked him what he's going to do now that he doesn't wrestle anymore. He cheerfully said that he can now have a few cocktails and not worry about staying in shape.

Among Flair's greatest hits since leaving wrestling in March was an alleged fight with his 22-year-old daughter and her boyfriend that reportedly ended with his daughter getting tasered. Or hop on TMZ and check out Flair saying (outside what appears to be a nightclub) why he would have been the contestant to put Dancing With the Stars over the top. With gold like that, this could actually be the first reality show that doesn't need fabricated storylines.

And then there is none other than LT, the mythical former New York Giants linebacker who lived as hard off the field as he hit on it. His best television moment was clearly the 2003 60 Minutes piece when he told Mike Wallace he sent prostitutes to opposing players' hotel rooms the night before games. Now there's a competitive strategy no one was talking up at CTAM last week.

But while LT says he has cleaned up his act, he still hits plenty hard. For instance, there was the recent Howard Stern Show appearance when Taylor said he would rather watch two chickens, um, procreate than coach football. Were he talking about coaching the Oakland Raiders, I think we'd all agree.

So LT and his reps at Maxximum Marketing are developing and pitching multiple reality concepts, a TV movie and a satellite radio show. They want to try and leverage the NY Giants' Super Bowl win and the recent release of Taylor's video game Blitz: The League 2.

But really, both guys are just trying to jump in and create the next Hogan Knows Best. In fact, Flair shot a pilot with Pink Sneakers Productions, which did that same show.

On a recent weekend I was watching an E! True Hollywood Story on Hulk Hogan (hey, I was stuck at my in-laws; I would've watched Celine Dion appearing on What Not to Wear to escape for an hour or two).

When Hogan Knows Best started a few years back, that family was on top of the world. Now, the parents are divorced, the wife was allegedly sleeping with one of the daughter's friends, and the son just got out of the slammer.

Nature Boy, LT, you sure you want in on this?

E-mail comments to ben.grossman@reedbusiness.com



B&C in 2: Waiting for 'The Big One'
B&C Editor Ben Grossman explains why he hasn't—and won't—read this week's cover story about how California stations are preparing for the next massive earthquake.

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