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The Contender could land on ESPN


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I wondered how ESPN let this get away in the first place, especially with FOX getting Oscar Delahoya's boxing show.


ESPN could be a 'Contender'

Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:15 AM ET

By Paul J. Gough

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ESPN said Monday it was close to acquiring the rights for a second season of "The Contender," the Mark Burnett-Sylvester Stallone boxing reality series that drew poor ratings on NBC last season.

It was unclear whether Stallone would work on a second season of "The Contender" if it is acquired by ESPN. Some details remain to be worked out, the network said.

Officials from Mark Burnett Prods. and co-producer DreamWorks couldn't be reached for comment on the future of "The Contender."

If the show finds its way to ESPN, it could fit into the network's other plans for dramatic series, said Will Staeger, ESPN Original Entertainment executive producer. ESPN, off the success of "Playmakers" and "Tilt," could debut one or two more dramatic series this year.

"It's very possible that ("The Contender") could be paired with a boxing dramatic series," Staeger said.

Meanwhile, ESPN has acquired the rights to the recent book "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning."

The Jonathan Mahler book tells the story of the 1977 New York Yankees, which faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series that year. But first the team -- and the city -- had to survive the drama surrounding the Son of Sam killings, a blackout that was followed by arson and other crimes, and the advent of disco. The book follows the exploits of the Yankees -- including Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and manager Billy Martin -- as well as former New York Mayors Ed Koch and Abe Beame.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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Originally posted by RabidFan

That show was great....huge fights and power punches...i was hoping NBC would bring it back with heavyweights....that would be a show to see...pure haymakers

Heavyweights would be interesting. Think of the challenges they did last season with the big guys!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I guess it's official:

'Contender' gets another shot at ESPN

Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:05 PM ET

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - ESPN hopes to deliver a knockout punch in the ratings with a cable version of "The Contender," the boxing reality series that got roughed up while on NBC.

Twelve hour-long episodes will begin in April on the sports cable giant; the last episode will be live. Three two-hour specials with a boxing theme will start on ESPN beginning October 15.

Sylvester Stallone and former boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, the stars of the NBC version, will remain with the show in some form, but it's all but certain that they won't be on as much.

"It'll be a limited involvement but definitely a presence," said Will Staeger, executive producer of ESPN Original Entertainment.

Stallone will executive produce with Mark Burnett ("Survivor") and DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Staeger said that much of its structure -- including the 16 boxers -- will remain the same, but the show will become a little more sports-centric because it will be on ESPN.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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