'Trading Spaces' producers announce Terrell Owens reality TV show
By Reality TV World staff, 02/14/2006
Banyan Productions, the producers of TLC's Trading Spaces, has announced that it has reached an agreement to produce a reality television series starring controversial National Football League player Terrell Owens.
"Terrell Owens is one of the most talked about and dominating athletes in all of sports. He's also honest, articulate and one of the most physically fit competitors in the country," Banyan Productions Ray Murray announced. "We're looking forward to tapping into all of those qualities to create an original and groundbreaking series."
Hosted by Owens (also known as "T.O.") himself, the still untitled and unsold show will combine the veteran NFL wide receiver's "passion for working out" with his "natural curiosity" about other people. Guests on the show will come from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics -- and according to the show, "no subject will be off limits" (has someone run that by Drew "Next Question" Rosenhaus, Owens' agent?)
According to Banyan Productions executive Tom Fowler, Banyan is currently negotiating with several networks that have already expressed interested in airing the show. "We're hoping to get it started as soon as possible," Fowler told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I would be surprised if this didn't take off extremely soon based upon T.O.'s interest and the interest we've received from some networks. There's an appetite for this type of programming. It's a celebrity-fitness-based program. This is a fresh approach to this type of programming."
Although one of the NFL most talented players, Owens is also known for being a high-maintenance, troublemaking player both on and off the field. Originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, the outspoken Owens slowly wore out his welcome and with the team and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the 2004-05 NFL season, after which he signed a seven year, $49 million contract with his new team. Although he was having a career year until a severe injury derailed his season, Owens' initial season with the Eagles ended on a sour note, with the team losing Super Bowl XXXIX to the New England Patriots despite Owens' surprising ability to rapidly return from his injuries. Afterward, Owens lambasted the media for not praising his impressive accomplishment.
Later that offseason, Owens made thinly veiled derogatory comments directed at Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, alleging that he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl." Already an unpopular player in the locker room, the comments sparked a riff between Owens and the star Eagles quarterback. In April 2005, Owens hired Rosenhaus, considered one of the game's most aggressive agents, and announced that he would be seeking a renegotiation of the seven-year contract he had only signed a year earlier.
Although he threatened to hold out of training camp until a deal was reached, Owens reported to the team's training camp on time. However, following a heated argument with Eagles head coach Andy Reid, the team suspended Owens for two weeks during the August 2005 pre-season. In October, Owens's relationship with the team and its fans deteriorated further, with Owens telling a local Philadelphia radio station that if he could go back in time, he would not have signed a contract with the Eagles.
Owens' relationship with the team completely crumbled in November. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Owens agreed with a comment that the then 4-3 Eagles would be undefeated if Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was quarterbacking the team instead of McNabb. Owens also criticized the team for not publicly acknowledging his 100th career NFL touchdown, questioning the organization's class and integrity.
Although the Eagles issued a written apology from Owens the next day, the team also suspended him indefinitely, citing conduct detrimental to the team. According to reports, Owens was suspended for refusing to personally apologize to his teammates and McNabb. Later it was reported that Owens also got into a fight with Eagles staffer (and former player) Hugh Douglas earlier in the same week. After Rosenhaus attempted to intervene, the Eagles announced that Owens would remain be suspended for four games -- the maximum amount of time the team could suspend Owens for his behavior -- and then be deactivated for the rest of the NFL season.
The next day, Owens and Rosenhaus held a press conference on the front lawn of Owens' house. Although Owens read a short prepared statement in which he apologized to the team (including McNabb) and expressed his desire to immediately return to the team, Rosenhaus dominated the press conference and refused to answer most questions, replying with a "next question" response. According to Rosenhaus, the media was to blame for Owens' situation.
Despite the press conference, the Eagles stated Owens would still not be allowed to return to the team. Later in November, an arbitrator (responding to a grievance filed by Rosenhaus) ruled that the Eagles did not have to allow Owens to return.
Presently, Owens still remains under contract to the Eagles. Last month, Rosenhaus announced that the team had given him permission to pursue possible trade discussions with other NFL teams.
Although Owens has had issues with his football employers and co-workers, Fowler insists he has no concerns about working with the NFL star. "I don't worry for a second about that," he told the newspaper. "He's a terrific guy. What happened with the Eagles was between him and the Eagles. This is a totally different arena, and I don't expect any problems at all with him." After all, it's not like Banyan Productions doesn't have previous experience dealing with media-blaming reality TV hosts.