Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Contender

On Monday night, NBC debuted a new TV show. It's called The Contender. The show is the brainchild of Mark Burnett and Sylvester Stallone. Sly and Sugar Ray Leonard are the hosts. This show is sort of a hybrid between a legit sporting event and a reality TV show. Of course, the Banshee loves it.

The show started out with 16 boxers. The last man standing will get a chance at a $1 million title fight. The boxers are divided into two teams. There is an East team and a West team, and it's based on the hometowns of the fighters. Each week there is a challenge and a boxing match. The challenges are tough, manly tasks like dragging logs up a mountain in 100 degree heat. The winning team gets to choose who will fight from their team. They also get to choose who will fight from the other team. Then, those two men have a legitimate, 5-round boxing match that counts on their professional records. The winner stays. The loser goes home.

The quality of this show is outstanding. The boxers are not just tough guys who think they could beat a champ. They are real boxers. I've seen some of them on ESPN before. The camera work on the fighting is fantastic. The show is also enjoyable because NBC allows us to know these men. We see a lot of footage of the boxers playing with their children, talking with their fathers and praying with their wives. For the most part, they seem like very nice, very likeable guys.

But, the best part of this show is that there is no need for Survivor-style back-stabbing or alliances. In this show, if you don't like someone, you will get to punch that person in the face for five rounds. Popularity has nothing to do with anything. If you win your fights, you get to stay. If you lose your fight then you have no one but yourself to blame.

The second episode of The Contender will air tonight on NBC at 10 p.m. -- after The Apprentice. I think it's regular night will be Sunday, but I am not sure. If you want to catch up on what you missed from Monday, Yahoo! has generously provided the Internet public with an extensive recap of the first episode. It was great, so I highly recommend reading it.