Sports and television go together like, as Forrest Gump would say, peas and carrots.
I'm not just talking about the televised games and events. Through the years, sports have played roles in many of the major networks' fall shows.
At last Sunday's Emmy awards, Ray Romano's character in "Everybody Loves Raymond," which won for best comedy series, is a sportswriter for the New York Daily News. Felecity Huffman, who won for best actress in a comedy, got her first leading role in television as a sports news producer in "Sports Night."
My first memory of a sitcom with a semi-sports theme is Craig T. Nelson's "Coach," centered around a college football coach in Minnesota. Not an Emmy-winner but still a fun show.
It doesn't end with sitcoms, either. Cable television's most-commonly known sports network has tried its hand at producing drama shows and made-for-TV movies. And the explosion of reality television in the last10 years has been no stranger to sports. Sugar Ray Leonard co-hosted a boxing reality contest, Venus and Serena Williams star in their own show and a former NFL quarterback is one of this year's "Survivor" castaways.
All of this leads me to believe that sports personalities and themes will only continue to be seen in the future of television. It got me to thinking about how some of today's headline-makers would fit into a network's fall schedule.
For example, Martha Stewart now has her own version of "The Apprentice." Sports is filled with rich and talented lawbreakers, and while few athletes can turn backyard trash into an elegant table setting, none of Martha's wannabes can jump 35-inches in the air or throw a football 60 yards. Swap Martha for Brett Favre, call the show "The Rookie," and let 16 college quarterbacks compete for the chance to play second-string to Favre in his last season in the NFL. Favre's kiss of death: "You're cut."
Or what about a sitcom about the life of two single, eligible bachelors who happen to be billionaire owners of an NBA and WNBA franchise, much like the life of the Maloof brothers. The two can live at their Las Vegas hotel/casino and show how little their luck with women changes after winning a WNBA championship.
Terrell Owens would be a solid candidate for the next "Dancing with the Stars" series. Although his touchdown celebrations have been downsized this year, we've all seen his moves. And in the event that he gets into an argument and refuses to talk to his dance partner, he'll still get the job done.
And finally, Barry Bonds' drama series "Rub/Inject" would have audiences captivated, as every episode ends in a cliff-hanger of some sorts. Tune in next week to see if Barry can avoid a congressional hearing, pass his random drug test or catch Hank Aaron's home run record.
Rob Weiler is the Miner's Sports Writer.
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