ABC orders 'Shaq Vs.' Shaquille O'Neal series, to debut August 18
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/20/2009
Shaquille O'Neal and ABC have decided to team-up for a second time.
ABC announced it has ordered Shaq Vs., a new reality series that will follow the 7-foot, 300-plus pound NBA star as he competes against famous athletes in a different sporting event each week.
Shaq Vs. is slated to premiere Tuesday, August 18 at 9PM ET/PT.
Each one-hour episode of the series will follow O'Neal and a different athletic adversary as each train with a coach for one week prior to the event and participate in various interviews and trash talking.
In addition, O'Neal and his opponent will negotiate a handicap to level the playing field for the NBA star since he'll be out of his element.
"Shaq is the only one with the athletic skills and personality to carry this unique project," said ABC executives John Saade and Vicki Dummer. "It's Shaq versus the best athletes in the world, competitors who aren't afraid of the challenge... or Shaq's humor."
Athletes and events O'Neal will encounter during the series include Olympian and World Champion Michael Phelps in swimming; Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football; reigning U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams in tennis; championship fighter Oscar de la Hoya in boxing; two time NL MVP Albert Pujols in baseball; and Olympic gold medallists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in beach volleyball.
"These athletes may be on top of their game, but I am up for the challenge," said O'Neal. "I plan to train hard and win, so look out."
O'Neal told USA Today he came up with the idea for the show to help him train for the NBA season, which will find him with a new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition, O'Neal said he recruited most of the athletes featured on the show via Twitter.
"He's very playful, almost everyone can relate to him. He has a fun sort of childish persona, and at the same time he's a superstar," Saade told USA Today. "Our real hope is you come for the absurdity but you stay for the sport."
O'Neal added that the only thing up for grabs in the events are "bragging rights."
"Bragging rights are always better than any monetary prize," O'Neal told USA Today.
ABC cleared O'Neal's participation with the Cavaliers, according to USA Today, which added the big man still has to report to training camp on September 15.
Shaq Vs. is the second reality series O'Neal has starred in for ABC, as he previously appeared onShaq's Big Challenge -- a Summer 2007 reality series that followed him as he helped transform six obese middle-school students from Florida into healthy kids while also demonstrating how other communities across the country can help fight America's weighty-youth problem.
The six-episode series averaged less than 5 million total viewers, according to USA Today.
Shaq Vs. is produced by Media Rights Capital in association with dick clark productions.