The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

REALITY CHECK: REAL-LIFE ROCKY
In a weird convergence between reality television, movies and boxing, Sylvester Stallone has been attached to the development of "The Contender", a reality series about boxing. It's scheduled for debut on NBC in 2005, timed to come alive along with a new, apparently for-real boxing federation.

"We're looking to reclaim a part of America that's been missing," ["Survivor" creator Mark] Burnett tells Variety. "Where are the 'Thrilla in Manilas?' The Sugar Ray Leonards? We all agree no one can tell who owns what belt.

"We're all businessmen, and there's a serious business around boxing," he says. "It's the highest paying sport, yet no one believes in it anymore. What happens when we make it transparent and clean? Once clean, the upside is astronomical."

Boxing, clean?? I'm not sure that's even possible anymore. The sport's been crooked for a lot longer than most people like to think--even the golden age of the 1930s and 40s were shady times. It's just more obvious now.

Aside from Stallone's presence as the on-air personality, this show won't have an official connection with Rocky, because MGM owns the rights to that. That might change, though, depending on the prospects of "The Contender" and how the next Rocky sequel goes.