Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sports and reality TV: Behold the promise


Watch out WWE, here comes real 'entertainment'

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For anyone doubting the "reality" in reality television, this was undeniable.

Tuesday night on NBC's Dog Eat Dog, our Cincinnati Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Sort of.

The game featured cheerleaders from six NFL teams, including Angela Miller of the BenGals.

And for the first time in more than a decade, the franchise was well-represented on national TV. Miller made it through all the physical challenges and was crowned "top dog" of the show, while her five competitors sat in the "dog pound." Simple enough, right? Bengals win.

But wait, there's a final round - a flag on the play, if you will.

Questions were asked of the group, and Miller had to select an opponent to answer. Three out of five correct answers earned the winner $25,000. The format is a little questionable, because the easy questions put the top dog at a disadvantage, but if you're a Bengal, you can't expect any breaks.

The show came down to the final question. And Miller, despite her best efforts, was left out in the cold, 3-2.

Sound familiar?

Better get used to it, fans. Although sports are one of the last arenas not tainted by reality television, before long, we'll be inundated with:

• Who Wants to Marry a Hundredaire? Starring Buster Douglas.

• The Entourage. Watch as cameras follow around high school friends of the NBA's newest star, LeBron James, as they "bling-bling" their way to discarded groupies and VIP-room Crystal. If you think the Cleveland Cavaliers hit the lottery, you ain't seen nothing yet.

• Is Your Bat Hot? With host Sammy Sosa.

• The Amazingly Boring Race, currently known as the Tour de France.

• Canadian Idol with judges Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash and Alan Thicke.

• The 'Roid to Ruin. Contestants in teams of four will crash the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and go on several fact-finding missions. During the series' climactic final episode, the teams will uncover which sluggers are using performance-enhancing drugs, with the winning team pocketing $1 million.

• Survivor: NFL Mascot Edition. Outwit, outplay, outlast, all within the confines of a 45-pound fur suit.

• Who's Your NBA Daddy? Contestants spend an entire season with an NBA team, "cutting" players from the squad in hopes of discovering their father ... and a fat check.

• Real World: Olympic Stadium. This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in an outdated, under-attended baseball stadium to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

• Temptation Island starring Larry Eustachy and the Kappa Alpha Rho sorority.

• Celebrity Boxing: Muggsy Bogues vs. Gary Coleman.

 I'm with Tyson. Watch as John and Jane Q. Average spend months at a time with the craziest man on the planet, Mike Tyson. They go to dogfights, play with the champ's pet tiger, race high-performance European sports cars on urban streets and randomly assault people. THEY'RE ... WITH ... TYSON.

As renowned promoter Don King would say, "Call your local cable provider."

Colliding worlds

Links between the world of sports and the world of reality television:

• Real World: Los Angeles star Tami was married to Hornets point guard Kenny Anderson.

• Real World: Las Vegas star Steven was a Junior Olympian in javelin.

• ESPN threw its hat into the overcrowded reality television ring last year with Beg, Borrow and Deal.

• Syrus Yarbrough of Real World: Boston attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo on a basketball scholarship.

• Magic Johnson is at it again as the host of MTV's newest reality show, Who's Got Game?

• In the dullest fight since they outlawed kangaroo boxing, Manute Bol beat William "Refrigerator" Perry on Celebrity Boxing.

• American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard was on a football scholarship while majoring in voice at Alabama A&M.

• Charles Barkley and Johnny Bench are the most successful athletes in the history of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Each won $250,000 for charity.

• Former sportscaster and Vikings receiver Ahmad Rashad hosted Celebrity Mole Hawaii.

• ABC has put on hold a reality show starring Mike Tyson, reportedly fighting a boxing-trained "Joe Average" character.

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E-mail rernst@enquirer.com




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ENQUIRER PAGE TWO
Sports and reality TV: Behold the promise
This Turkish tradition isn't slip-slidin' away
Tale of the tape: Broadway Joe vs. Joe Millionaire
Page Two power rankings

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