Shaq Vs. has an interesting format, but it’s too bad ABC and/or the show’s producers didn’t trust their star enough to let him just interact with people. The banter with his personal trainer and the episode’s co-star, Ben Roethlisberger, was so annoyingly scripted that I can’t believe they expected anyone to believe it’s authentic. The few genuine-seeming moments were drowned out by that stupidity, never mind the color commentary that makes it seem too much like ABC’s dry and lifeless Superstars. And on the radio and elsewhere, I’ve heard some skepticism about the actual competition and whether it, too, was staged.
Perhaps as a result, or just because Shaq doesn’t have the same popularity he used to, viewers didn’t exactly flock to it, and other Tuesday reality TV–Big Brother, Hell’s Kitchen, and America’s Got Talent–all performed a lot better. The first episode “came in tied for third with FOX’s More to Love for the hour with adults 18-49,” according to TV By the Numbers, “though Shaq Vs. had slightly more viewers than More to Love (4.337M vs 4.032M).”