HBO or ESPN could pick up The Contender; Burnett says he wants more than “a TV deal.”

Although Mark Burnett previously said that he expected to be announcing a new home for The Contender a few weeks ago, he says it’s taking a while because producers “are looking not just for a TV partner, but for a partner overall to help really re-launch the sport. This relationship will be as much about the overall opportunity of rebuilding boxing as it will be about a TV show. If we just wanted a TV deal, we’d be done already,” he tells Broadcasting and Cable.

So where might the show end up. ESPN has been rumored, and according to B&C, “industry insiders say ESPN or HBO would be the most likely new venue, though Spike TV, FX and even Fox (which decided last season’s The Next Great Champ was a chump) would also qualify as a prospective partner.”

And the show could return as early as next January. “Burnett says he expects, within weeks, to announce ‘big fight night’ televised events that would be a prelude to the series’ return, possibly by January 2006,” B&C says.

Burnett Slugs for The Contender [Broadcasting and Cable]

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, 36, 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.