ESPN begins production on new 'Varsity Inc.' docu-reality series
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/28/2007
ESPN has begun production on Varsity, Inc., a new Two-A-Days-like docu-reality series that will focus on Louisiana's West Monroe High School varsity football team.
West Monroe High football coach Don Shows told the New York Post in a Tuesday report that the northeast Louisiana school was originally supposed to be the setting for MTV's Two-A-Days docu-reality series two years ago when his team was approached by production company Humidity Entertainment.
Shows told the Post he turned the offer down because he "didn't want anybody to get involved in the personal lives of the kids." He's apparently confident that Varsity, Inc. -- which ESPN confirmed to Reality TV World has already begun production -- will be strictly football-focused.
"I think a lot of people would be more interested in the football side. What goes on in practice, in meetings, how it fits into the community," Shows told the Post. "I'd be interested in watching something like that, to see how a team gets to where they are."
The West Monroe Rebels were Louisiana's 1-5A District Champions in 2005, and finished in second during the 2006 season. While Shows told the Post the team is "not as good as we've been in the past," it got off to a good start on Saturday with an upset win over their rivals on a last-second field goal -- in front of 22,000 fans no less.
MTV had an option to shoot a third season of Two-A-Days at Alabama's Hoover High School during the 2007 football season, according to the Post, which added there are currently no cameras there and "no expectations they'll return."
In June, two Hoover High teachers claimed to know of grade changings and other academic improprieties involving former seniors who had also suited-up for the school's Buccaneers football program. As a result former Northern District of Alabama judge Sam C. Pointer Jr., who served in that capacity for 30 years, has been leading an investigation into the allegations as well as other concerns.
In addition, the Post reported Hoover High's former principal accused the school's coach, Rush Probst, of having a "secret second family." Probst has denied the allegations.
"I haven't changed any grades, and I don't have a 'secret family,'" Shows told the Post. "I'm not worried about anything like that. Absolutely not. Absolutely not."
ESPN expects to debut Varsity, Inc. in late November.