Entertainment execs kick around idea for new soccer reality show

Celebrity News

May 29, 2007|By Liz Smith | Liz Smith,Tribune Media Services

Soccer has long been an international sensation, although it has never reached the top rung of interest in the United States. And the grand Harrods department store in London is also an international success, although in this country it has more good reputation than actual status.

Now, Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed and America's TV titan George Schlatter will collaborate with Hollywood producer Conroy Kanter and Soccerex (the NBA of the soccer sports universe) to dream up a reality series about a bunch of hunky guys in shorts kicking a ball, and each other, hither and yon.

The idea has come into being because of all the publicity surrounding David Beckham's huge deal to come play soccer in America. No matter that he injured himself right off and that his whippet-thin wife, Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham seems overly anxious for stateside stardom. She is already a champion Hollywood Wife Shopper.

Some people feel the last thing we need is another reality series, but soccer players are -- as Paris would say -- hot. So go for it, guys.

Are they or aren't they?

The sizzling producer Brian Grazer is keeping mum as to whether or not he and his wife Gigi's divorce is final and their prenup has kicked in after 16 years. She seems to think they have reconciled and are back together. Others say that a certain Eurasian woman is still in the picture. Well, this guy has four kids with Gigi, so there's a lot for him to think about. He may not want to rock the boat and Gigi definitely believes in staying friendly. Brian is off now to do The Da Vinci Code sequel in Europe. A sequel? Wonders never cease. ...

Credit where credit's due

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, one David Blum reported that network TV isn't dead. We already knew that, but he went on to make a joke -- "Network television simply cannot be allowed to die, and not just because that would bring a premature end to the career of Charlie Sheen."

One has to wonder whether Mr. Blum has ever seen Charlie in action? To Blum he's just a cheap gag. But Sheen's current sitcom, Two and a Half Men, is in the top 10. Like with many TV experts, this CBS hit is not so much denigrated as it is demonstrably ignored. In fact, the show won the People's Choice Award for favorite TV comedy last year, but I guess it's not an award taken seriously by the TV industry.

Its concepts, which turn cleverly around the trials of an aging playboy, are much more skillful, say, than the newly popular Old Christine, which is silly and largely unbelievable. When a rare good sitcom comes along and really works, it is quite something these days.

The participants in Men turn it into a grown-up, very-adult comedy showing a swinger who shares his digs with a nerdy younger brother and a smart-alecky nephew. Charlie, "brother" John Cryer and "nephew" Angus T. Jones keep it glued together with their put downs, put-ons and California satire.

I don't know the principal writer, Chuck Lorre, but he has a great track record and he'd most likely shrug: "It's hard to prove why anything doesn't get attention."

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