July 20, 2009

Shaquille O'Neal Gets His Own Reality Show...


via USA Today:
NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is getting ready to multitask. The four-time hoops champion, who joins the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, will star in Shaq Vs., an ABC reality series that pits him against top athletes in their own sports.

Filming begins Wednesday in Pittsburgh, where Shaq takes on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football. Future hour-long episodes will pit him against Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, tennis pro Serena Williams and beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

O'Neal, 37, says he also hopes to book pal Lance Armstrong for a cycling competition once the Tour de France ends.

The series is set to premiere Aug. 18 and will air Tuesdays at 9 ET/PT.

O'Neal says he came up with the idea as a fun way to help train for the NBA season and figured sports fans "would really want to see an athlete play another sport." He knew most of the athletes and recruited some of them on Twitter.

ABC was immediately interested. "He's very playful, almost everyone can relate to him. He has a fun sort of childish persona, and at the same time he's a superstar," says John Saade, co-chief of ABC's reality programming, says of the 7-foot-1 O'Neal. "Our real hope is you come for the absurdity but you stay for the sport."


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