NBC has announced that World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold medal winner George Foreman will appear on NBC's new upcoming The Contender series, which is set to premiere in January 2005. George joins Contender's ever-growing team of Hollywood heavy hitters which include Mark Burnett, Sylvester Stallone, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Sugar Ray Leonard.
"We are thrilled to be able to include George in our show. His passion for the sport is as enormous as his personality," Burnett said. "As such a huge part of boxing history, I know how excited he is to now become involved in part of its future and to give back to the sport which has given him so much."
Elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, Foreman began his professional career after winning the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic games. He quickly established a strong winning record, eventually garnering the Heavyweight title after Knocking out Joe Frazer in the first of their five meetings. Foreman successfully defending his title in two consecutive challenges before meeting Muhammad Ali in the famed "Rumble in the Jungle," where he lost the crown after an eighth round knock out.
An ordained Christian minister, Foreman briefly retired from the sport to pursue his faith until returning to make a final run to regain his title. He accomplished this feat, wining the heavyweight crown in a stunning 10th round knockout of Michael Moorer in 1994, setting a record as the oldest fighter to ever win the heavyweight title. Foreman stepped out of the ring for the final time in 1999. Over the course of his career, he amassed an impressive record of 76 wins (68 by knock out) and 5 losses, thus insuring himself a place as one of the sport's premiere fighters.
In addition to being a former world champion boxer, Foreman has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in America and is considered by Forbes magazine to be one of the most believable personalities on television.
The addition of Foreman, as well as five time World Champion Sugar Ray Leonard, who has also signed to star in the unscripted series, was brought about through their relationship with series producer Jeff Wald. A longtime talent manager and television and movie producer, Wald has been involved in the sport for most of his career working with a variety of world champion fighters.
"This has been a longtime dream to see boxing come back to primetime television and the chance to work with Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sylvester Stallone as well as two of the best living fighters makes it all the more special," Wald said.
The Contender will be a joint production of Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks Television and Rogue Marble. Sylvester Stallone, Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg are the executive producers.