Is 'The Contender' Looking to Avoid A Ratings Beating?

With Fox's "The Next Great Champ" off to a bad first couple of rounds, NBC's "The Contender" could be looking to keep its distance by debuting later in the season. But is that NBC's aim - or the producers' real desire?

The daily entertainment newspapers have been privy to some inside information today that "The Contender," an NBC reality show about boxers' lives in and out of the ring will be delayed possibly until mid-season. The theory goes that because a similar show has had some poor ratings, viewers would make NBC's boxing show guilty by association.

The two shows had a legal tussle over the summer -- DreamWorks Television and Mark Burnett Productions sued claiming Fox stole their idea. Fox won that battle.

But who wanted this information out there today? Press reports didn't divulge the type of sources. But we can guess it probably wasn't NBC. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter said NBC executives either weren't available for comment or had no comment. To its credit Variety positioned the rumor as a lot of speculation.



Initially, NBC was considering more of a mid-season launch for "The Contender." Then it pushed up the date to November to compete with the Fox show. In turn, Fox then pushed up its show for early September.

Generally, TV producers are always looking for a bit of extra time to perfect their craft. Perhaps production executives from DreamWorks or Mark Burnett Productions are forcing NBC's hand a bit - by leaking the news. Now that "The Contender" has virtually won its battle with the Fox show - in an unintended way - it has the luxury of sitting this out for a while.

"The Contender" producers may be getting in under the wire - NBC hasn't begun any on-air marketing as yet. Still, NBC might just stick to the plan for "The Contender" in November, which could be a key sweeps period for the network especially since "The Apprentice" has gotten off to a less-than-spectacular start.

Misery wants company, and that's why "The Contender" wants out of this party. But NBC is still working the room, and, ultimately, driving the limo home.

Next story loading loading..