Joe Lavin

January 31, 2006

Football for the Famous

First, there was ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," where real life stars, some of whom you've actually heard of, learned ballroom dancing from professionals. Then, displaying that special kind of bold innovation we need more of in television, Fox developed the aptly titled "Skating with Celebrities." And now we offer a sneak peek at the next exciting new show in the celebrity sub-genre of TV reality.

It's "Football for the Famous," featuring all the excitement of "Dancing with the Stars," but this time with the possibility of concussions! Starring Nicole Ritchie, Bill O'Reilly, Derek Jeter, that Jared guy from Subway, and dozens of others you'd love to see tackled by a 350-pound lineman, "Football for the Famous" promises to take major stars and put them through a rigorous month of NFL training camp. Each week, these celebrities will compete to see which one will be knocked out, and by "knocked out" we mean literally knocked out. This is no flag football league we're running here. You'll see solid hits on all your least favorite stars.

Hosted by ESPN's Chris Berman and Stuart Scott -- don't worry, we'll save a few good hits for them too! -- "Football for the Famous" will show all the behind-the-scenes training action, as our stars are paired with their very own NFL tutors. Don't miss the premiere, in which Bill O'Reilly is paired with Terrell Owens, Donald Trump with Ricky Williams, and Paris Hilton with the entire Minnesota Vikings.

And that's not all. Here's some more of what to expect as the NFL gets ready to take reality TV by storm.

Special voting mix-ups to fuel online conspiracy theories! Actual NFL officials will control the voting each week to ensure that we're never short of massive screw-ups.

Janet Jackson! You won't believe what she's got planned for the NFL this time.

Instant Replay. This is exactly what "Dancing with the Stars" and "Skating with Celebrities" have been missing: instant replay controversies. We take one of the most enduring parts of a football game and bring it to reality television. Not only an excuse to show extra commercials, instant replay will cause lively debates that will last all week. "That's ridiculous! Britney Spears was clearly in the grasp. The play should have been called dead!"

Actual real-life celebrities. When we say celebrities, we don't mean "that woman from the ABC show that nobody watches" or "that guy who occasionally used to be on that popular show from the nineties, sometimes," or even any former cast member of "Diff'rent Strokes."

A special guest appearance by O.J. Simpson, in case things aren't quite tacky enough. We were hoping to pair him up with a celebrity, but so far no one has come forward.

Did we mention the hard hits? Okay, good, but just don't tell the celebrities because most of them don't know it yet. Donald Trump still thinks he's signed up for touch football.

And you want grouchy judges? No problem. Mr. Simon Cowell, meet Coach Bill Parcells. Plus, Joe "I wanna kiss you" Namath in the cheerful Paula Abdul role and John Madden in the completely nonsensical Randy Jackson role.

Oh, that part about Janet Jackson being on the show? Actually, the FCC just called, and instead we're going to have some old white guys on instead. Sorry for any confusion.

"Football for the Famous" also marks the return of Dennis Miller to the NFL. "That's right. I'm back. They said it would never happen again. Me and the NFL. That's like Amelia Earhart taking off across the Atlantic with Sylvia Plath in the passenger -- ARRGGH!" Yes, our linemen will be saving their very best hits just for Dennis Miller. You won't want to miss it.

And, finally, if "Football for the Famous" isn't enough for you, don't miss next month's "Hockey for Has Beens."

©2006 Joe Lavin

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May 18, 2004
Real or Unreal?
It's easy to tell if you're watching reality TV. The less like reality a show seems, the more likely it's reality TV. It's not so easy to tell where reality producers will actually draw the line though, or whether they even have a line. Exactly how tacky does a reality project have to be not to make it on the air? The following quiz might help answer that question. All of the following are either planned reality shows or completely fictitious. Can you tell which ones are real? ( More.... )