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Drop the Mic chemistry leads to a reality show pilot for Shaq and Ken Jeong

Drop the Mic chemistry leads to a reality show pilot for Shaq and Ken Jeong
Ken Jeong and Shaquille O'Neal on Drop the Mic season 2. (Photo by TBS)

Since the season two premiere of Drop the Mic last spring, 7.5 million people have watched the rap battle between Shaquille O’Neal and Ken Jeong.

Now, that show’s network, TBS, is giving the two a potential reality series: a pilot for a show with the working title of Unqualified.

TBS says the show “will follow the unlikely duo as they take on different odd jobs,” which makes it sound similar to The Simple Life, the show that sent Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie to do jobs they were not qualified to perform.

Capitalizing on their popularity and chemistry makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure the focus of the show does. I’d rather see them as a team on The Amazing Race, or perhaps just on a road trip together.

Why are they doing random jobs? The announcement explains:

“Between them, there are very few things these two iconic Renaissance men can’t do. Shaq easily shifted from court to courtside commentary as an analyst for Turner Sports’ Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA on TNT. And Jeong really is a medical doctor as well as playing one on TV. But can they be scuba instructors? Line cooks? Dental hygienists? Nude art class models? All in one day?

Summoned to their temporary employment by unsuspecting people via a digital portal, Unqualified (wt) will follow the antics of Shaq and Ken as they try their hands at jobs that have always intrigued them, along with a few they’d rather avoid. Sometimes Shaq and Ken will have no clue what they’re walking into.

Utilizing their wide range of talent and hustle, the duo will perform tasks such as patrolling malls as rent-a-cops, substitute teaching kindergarten, train conducting and performing as party clowns.”

The “unsuspecting people” part is curious, and sounds like people might be surprised to find Ken and Shaq show up for work.

The show will be produced by Abso Lutely Productions, which also produced Netflix’s Magic for Humans and Comedy Central’s Nathan For You, a satirical reality series on which Nathan Fielder attempted to help real small businesses with terrible proposals.

TBS executive Michael Bloom said in a press release, “These guys made magic on Drop The Mic together. Their chemistry is undeniable. And no doubt that magic will extend to the unwitting people who expect anything to get done when they show up.”

Drop the Mic battles are scripted by writers, but of course the delivery is what matters, and they had obvious chemistry even as they hurled insults at each other.

And it was full of shade: Their battle had several references to Ken Jeong’s penis and Shaq’s post-basketball career. Watch:

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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