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September 4, 2015

The Contender

Seven Olympic athletes who transitioned to television - VIDEO

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 13th 2008 2:02PM

When I think about the Olympics I don't think about the grandeur of the competitions, the feeling of global community, the individual stories of the athletes, or the mesmerizing synchronized swimming routines. The one thing that comes to mind when I think about the Olympics: anonymity. Out of the thousands of athletes that compete in these games many fade into the daily routine of their countries once the Closing Ceremony is completed.

Yet, there are a handful, particularly the up-and-coming stars of each Olympic games, that remain in the spotlight well after the torch has been extinguished. Some continue into the professional sports realm, others become "experts" in their field, and some jump into another profession altogether. Then there are those who enjoy the television spotlight so much that they remain in the medium in one capacity or another.

Sometimes it's as themselves on other television properties. Other times they dabble into the acting field with mixed results. Here are seven Olympic athletes who continued their careers on television in one form or another.

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Rod Lurie creates new femme series for Showtime

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 30th 2008 3:05PM
Rod Lurie and GeenaRod Lurie is no stranger to writing strong female characters. In film, he wrote and directed The Contender, with Joan Allen as a woman who was being considered for the Vice Presidency of the United States.

Then with Commander in Chief on ABC, he made Geena Davis the President and actually showed her in action -- until the show was canceled.

Lurie's working on another female-driven drama now for Showtime, but this time it's not about politics. Hillary Jones is the name of the show and the character, a police detective working vice in Los Angeles during the week, but moonlighting as a hooker in Nevada during the weekend.

She's not breaking the law, though, because prostitution -- as you and I know from the movies -- is legal there.

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The Contender is officially knocked out

by Jay Black, posted Apr 14th 2008 5:21PM
Yo, Adrian, do you think I should feather my hair?The Contender, the boxing reality show that began life on NBC before being canceled and moving to ESPN for the last two seasons, has been canceled once more. Despite launching a few boxing careers -- and bringing us the fun of Sylvester Stallone air-boxing whenever he watched a fight during the first season -- the show's producers "couldn't come to terms" with ESPN for a fourth season.

The producers expect the show to move to another network, which means that somehow boxing is still considered by someone as a viable form of entertainment. I mean, I know we're in a recession and all, but did the whole world get transported back to 1932, Island in the Sea of Time style when I wasn't looking?

The best part about the show's continued existence is that Greg Giraldo can continue performing his classic stand-up bit: "There's a new reality show out there now in which they get together a bunch of boxers and try to find the best one. Remember the show they used to have where they tried to do that? Yeah, it was called Boxing."

[via PopCandy]

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What's On Tonight: Cavemen, Reaper, Damages, Two Dudes Catering

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 16th 2007 4:00PM
  • World Series of PokerAt 8, FOX has the Red Sox/Indians game.
  • ABC has a new Cavemen at 8, followed by new episodes of Carpoolers, Dancing with the Stars, and Boston Legal.
  • CBS has new episodes of NCIS, The Unit, and Cane.
  • NBC has the special Matt Lauer Reports (an interview with Senator Larry Craig) at 8, and then new episodes of The Biggest Loser and Law and Order: SVU.
  • The CW has a new Beauty and the Geek at 8, then a new Reaper.
  • There's a new Nova on PBS at 8, followed by a new Frontline.
  • ESPN has two new eps of The World Series of Poker starting at 8, then a new Contender.
  • HBO has a new Five Days at 9.
  • History Channel has a new Mega Disasters at 9.
  • At 9:45, TCM has the special Vitaphone Shorts.
  • At 10, Food Network has a new Ace of Cakes, followed by the series premiere of Two Dudes Catering.
  • TLC has a new L.A. Ink at 10.
  • Sci-Fi has a new ECW at 10.
  • Also at 10: FX has a new Damages.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: Bones, NCIS, Reaper, Boston Legal, Cane

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 25th 2007 4:02PM
  • HouseAt 8, FOX has the season premiere of Bones, then the season premiere of House.
  • ABC has a new Dancing with the Stars at 8, then the season premiere of Boston Legal.
  • CBS has the season premiere of NCIS at 8, followed by the season premiere of The Unit and the debut of Cane.
  • There's a new Biggest Loser on NBC at 8, then the season premiere of Law and Order: SVU.
  • The CW has a new Beauty and the Geek at 8, followed by the series premiere of Reaper.
  • PBS has another installment of The War at 8.
  • ESPN has two new episodes of The World Series of Poker, then a new episode of The Contender.
  • HBO has Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later at 8.
  • Also at 8: ABC Family has a new Lincoln Heights.
  • At 9, Sci-Fi has a new Eureka, then a new ECW.
  • Gordon Ramsay talks to Larry King on CNN at 9.
  • At 10, FX has a new Damages.
  • TLC has a new L.A. Ink at 10.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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The Contender returns for a third season

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 10th 2007 3:23PM

The Contender returns to ESPN for a third seasonYou probably thought that The Contender had disappeared from the television galaxy after its one and only season on NBC, didn't you? Well, you'd be utterly wrong. The fact of the matter is that the boxing reality show has been a quiet success on ESPN. So much so, that it has been renewed for a third season.

To refresh your memory The Contender, which is hosted by boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, features 16 fighters that compete for the Contender championship and the share of a seven-figure purse. The season two finale of the show drew 2.3 million viewers and was ESPN's top-rated boxing telecast in nine years.

In the third season, which will premiere on September 4th at 10 pm, look for a new weight class, new trainers, and a bigger purse. In addition, viewers will be able to see unedited versions of each week's episode-ending bout on ESPN2.

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One more round for The Contender

by Varun Lella, posted Aug 7th 2007 4:41PM
Sugar Ray LeonardAbout two years ago The Contender, the Mark Burnett-produced boxing competitive reality show, moved from NBC to ESPN. After the second season on the popular sports network and the UK vs. USA challenge this spring, it was still up in the air whether the show would continue. Luckily, for those fans of boxing out there, ESPN has ordered up a third season of the show.

The premiere is actually coming up very soon: Sept. 4. So you won't have to wait too long if you are ready to see some amateur meat machines bash the snot out of each other.

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Mark Burnett engaged to Roma Downey

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 27th 2006 3:28PM

Roma Downey, Mark BurnettYup, the two have been dating since 2004.

The reality show king and the former star of Touched By An Angel have gotten engaged, officially. I knew that Burnett was divorced, but I didn't know that Downey has been married twice before, once to actor Leland Orser (currently Dr. Dubenko on ER) and once to director David Anspaugh (Rudy, Hoosiers, Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, E-Ring, The Bedford Diaries).

I wonder if Burnett will turn this into another show. There's no wedding date yet, but I'm sure the couple will honeymoon on some beautiful desert island, where they will be immediately separated into two different tribes and forced to compete against each other in races, puzzle-making, and the eating of monkey testicles.

[via TV Tattle]

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What's on Thanksgiving Day

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 22nd 2006 9:08PM

Macy's ParadeSure, you'll be busy cooking and/or running around to various homes tomorrow, but you might want to turn on the TV too. There's a lot more on than just football.

  • At 9am, CBS has The Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not exactly sure what this is, but it's from NYC, so maybe it's the Macy's parade but they can't call it that for legal reasons?
  • NBC has The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade at 9.
  • The History Channel has American Eats at 9, followed by More American Eats.
  • TLC has a Take Home Chef marathon starting at 9.
  • There's a marathon of The Closer at 9 on TNT.
  • FX has two Thanksgiving episodes of Spin City at 9.
  • Discovery has a marathon of I Shouldn't Be Alive, also at 9.
  • Food Network has Thanksgiving episodes all day long, starting at 9:30.
  • Lifetime has a Thanksgiving episode of Frasier at 10.
  • Spike has a James Bond marathon starting at 10.
  • A Project Runway marathon airs on Bravo at 10.
  • Another marathon: Sci-Fi has several eps of Eureka, also at 10.
  • Shortly after 10, IFC has Pieces of April, starring Katie Holmes as a woman who cooks her first Thanksgiving dinner.
  • At noon, CBS has the Dolphins vs. the Lions, while NBC has The National Dog Show.
  • TBS has a Home Improvement marathon starting at noon with a Thanksgiving ep.
  • Yup, another marathon: ESPN has The Contender at noon.
  • ABC will have its regular soap lineup starting at 1pm: All My Children, One Life To Live, and General Hospital.
  • The Family Channel has a Thanksgiving Full House at 3, followed by Turkey Day eps of other shows, including 7th Heaven.
  • At 3:30, FOX has the Bucs vs. the Cowboys.
  • At 6, TLC has the Thanksgiving ep of Little People, Big World.

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Mark Burnett takes The Contender worldwide

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 14th 2006 2:34PM
David IsmaloneThe man television writers call the devil, Mark Burnett, has yet another show up his sleeve. Mr. Reality is taking The Contender worldwide.

Instead of boxing, the international edition of The Contender will feature Thai boxing. Yes, martial arts fans, it's The Contender Muay Thai. You're going to have to wait for it to show up on YouTube though. The show will only air in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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The Contender crowns a champion

by Brett Love, posted Sep 28th 2006 7:45AM
The ContenderESPN has a winner for The Contender. If you can't wait, the answer is after the jump. But if you have a moment, I have a couple thoughts on the show. They made some big changes for this new season. First and foremost, Sly was nowhere to be found. Sugar Ray Leonard took over all the hosting duties. And that wasn't a good thing. Ray is a good guy, and a hell of a fighter, but as a host, he leaves much to be desired.

On top of that, the format of the show changed. Before, each week there was a competition. The winning team got to pick the fight for the week. This season, the team of the winner from the previous fight picked the next one. That left a big chunk of time to fill in each episode. That wasn't automatically bad, but the way they chose to fill it wasn't the best. From the episodes I saw, which was probably three quarters of them, more often than not a lot of that time went to showing us the same story for each fighter. Doing it for his family. Rough past. Orchestral music swelling. It got a little tedious.

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How reality show contestants are chosen

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 18th 2006 10:40AM
There's an interesting article over at The Morning News, one of my favorite websites for writers, about how producers go about choosing the right people for reality television. I've always wondered this myself, since they seem to find the most outrageous people on the planet. The article is called The Omarosa Experiment, although Omarosa, still the queen of reality tv, doesn't disclose much information because of all the hush-up contracts she's signed. The writer, Keith Hollihan, interviews a handful of well-known reality television contestants about how they got on their respective shows. Some of them made it by being ballsy with the producers, and others made it because they fit a certain stereotype the producers were looking to fill (i.e. the New York Italian). All of them went through extensive psychological screening with a minimum of two doctors who picked their brains to determine how they would react to certain situations. Omarosa says one of the doctors who interviewed her ended up lobbying for her to be on the show because her psych profile was so unusual. To say the least. But, not only do these contestants need to be slightly looney tunes, they also need to be able to handle rejection. One major concern when Survivor started was that contestants would commit suicide, something which did happen on boxing reality show, The Contender. Psychologists help producers choose contestants, by mixing various psychological types which are sure to create sparks. Basically, it all makes for an interesting psychological experiment.

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The Contender returns

by Keith McDuffee, posted Oct 19th 2005 1:44PM
contender 1We received a lot of positive comments regarding the old NBC reality show, The Contender, last season. Somehow the news of the show being picked up by ESPN for a second season slipped through the cracks! ESPN aired a boxing event last Saturday night, which featured former contestants from the show and receiving the highest viewer ratings for a boxing event for ESPN in eight years. Fans of the show are no doubt thrilled to see the series return.

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The Contender: The Final Fight

by Keith McDuffee, posted May 24th 2005 11:23PM
contender 1I'll be honest, I haven't been watching this series for two reasons. First, it's on during other shows I watch and secondly, it's already not renewed for a second season. I did catch part of the final fight, which seemed decent though a bit anti-climactic (i.e., no knock out). I felt horrible for one of the fighter's daughter in the audience, who was crying hysterically as she was forced to watch her father get pummeled. Dear lord, woman, why didn't you have someone take her out of there?!

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The Upfronts: NBC

by Keith McDuffee, posted May 16th 2005 12:02PM

Read on for show descriptions.

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