New Cleveland Cavalier Shaquille O'Neal will be taking up TV time outside local sportscasts in August. From ABC today:
ABC today announced the premiere of “Shaq Vs.,” a new competition series starring NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. The one-hour series, in which O’Neal will take his athletic prowess beyond the basketball court and strive to become a champion in a new sporting event each week, will debut TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 (9:00- 10:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Over the course of the series, O’Neal will challenge Olympian and World Champion Michael Phelps in swimming; Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, in football; reigning U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams in tennis; championship fighter Oscar de la Hoya in boxing; two time NL MVP and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in baseball; and Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in beach volleyball.
(Announcement continues after the jump.)
The show begins production Wednesday. Five episodes are planned. Asked about the chances of Shaq getting hurt, an ABC rep said the show was Shaq's idea of "a fun way to get ready for the season."
More from the announcement:
“These athletes may be on top of their game, but I am up for the challenge,” said O’Neal.
“I plan to train hard and win, so look out.”
“Shaq is the only one with the athletic skills and personality to carry this unique project,” said John Saade and Vicki Dummer, co-heads of Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night, ABC Entertainment Group. “It’s Shaq versus the best athletes in the world, competitors who aren’t afraid of the challenge… or Shaq’s humor.”
“We have always created projects through partnerships with top-name talent, and Shaquille O’Neal is a superstar,” said Media Rights Capital CEO Modi Wiczyk. “MRC is thrilled to be working with Shaq and dick clark productions on “’Shaq Vs.’”
The series will closely follow Shaq and his athletic adversary throughout the rigorous training process and the pre-game hype, including press conferences and interviews, all leading up to the final competition. To level the playing field, O’Neal will negotiate a handicap with his opponent and train with a coach for one week leading up to each challenge.
“Shaq Vs.” is produced by Media Rights Capital in association with dick clark productions. Orly Adelson, Will Staeger and Barry Adelman of dick clark productions, Shaquille O’Neal, Scott Messick and Perry Rogers serve as executive producers.