Contender won’t face Idol, “has the potential to revitalize a dying institution.”

Contender won’t face Idol, “has the potential to revitalize a dying institution.”
In his new book, Jump In!: Even If You Don’t Know How to Swim, Mark Burnett describes the genesis of The Contender, his forthcoming boxing series on NBC. The show, once scheduled to face off against American Idol 4, will now debut Monday, March 7, and then keep airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m.–not opposite the 9 p.m. edition of Idol. As Reality TV World points out, NBC “has turned tail (albeit wisely) and decided that it no longer intends to commit both ratings suicide and fiscal disaster by attempting to air the most expensive reality series ever produced against the Fox juggernaut.” In the book, Burnett says that “‘The Contender’ has the potential to revitalize a dying institution and give glory to a group of men who have labored in obscurity their whole lives. More than any of the other reality shows I’ve filmed, this show will blur that line between televised reality and the world itself.” He also writes, rather unconvincingly, that on his other series like Survivor and The Apprentice, “when filming is complete, the people in my shows return to their normal lives, stepping from my reality back into their reality.” That’s about as believable as Trump’s voiceovers last season on The Apprentice 2.
+ also: when hearing of Carson’s death, Burnett reportedly says he’s “been looking for a house in his area and this might be his opportunity.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.