Contender producer says “NBC fucked up” and Jeff Zucker “is an idiot”

Jeff Wald, an executive producer of The Contender, and the man who came up with the initial concept, tells FightNightNews that “NBC fucked up” the show last season.

Specifically, he says, the network aired the show against “some incredibly strong competition,” and “put it on three different days in three different time slots the first week and the audience couldn’t find it. … Jeff Zucker … is an idiot, and you can quote me.”

As Wald points out, on NBC, the show “averaged about seven million viewers a show and 12 million on the finale. You’ve got lots of shows that don’t perform that well.” But he’s most happy now that the second season is airing on ESPN, which “is up 572 percent in the women” demographics. “It’s really a family show. We’re getting a whole new generation,” he said.

Wald says he hopes the series “builds a whole new series of stars. A whole bunch of new boxing stars. And that the sport isn’t governed by phony sanctioning bodies and by promoters who manipulate those sanctioning bodies and that we’re reduced to one champion per weight class like it was in the old days. Everybody knew who was THE Heavyweight Champion.”

Mark Burnett A Genius; Jeff Zucker A Moron [FightNightNews]

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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, 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.