By Brian Skaggs
A common cliche is that the NFL is a “copy cat league”. Every commentator on ESPN parrots that phrase as if they’re the one who made it up — which is a bit ironic.
As for the copy cat nature of the NFL: Some trends prove successful and eventually get incorporated across the league, like the spread offense and the 3-4. Others fade, like the Wildcat.
This type of imitation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When people see something succeed, it’s in their nature to try to mimic it. And while the NFL is indeed a “copy cat league,” it’s nothing compared to the Reality TV scene, which puts on an anthropological clinic on a nightly basis.
The creators of mindless television are biggest parasites of all, clinging to popular trends until they are driven into the ground. And then they move on. Not convinced? Here’s a list of attention-grabbing shows, and their gravy-train copycats:
High-Risk, Blue-Collar Jobs:
- Deadliest Catch
- Ice Road Truckers
- Ax Men
Working in a Pawn Shop:
- Pawn Stars
- Hardcore Pawn
- Cajun Pawn Stars (this is not a joke)
- American Idol
- America’s Got Talent
- The Voice
- So You Think You Can Dance
- America’s Best Dance Crew
- The Hills
- Real Housewives
- Anything with a Kardashian in it
The key is to get out in front of these trends, which I’ll go ahead and do right now… One of these three shows should be on TV by the end of the year:
Think Lockup meets Big Brother. O.J. Simpson hosts this heart-wrenching and humorous show about a diverse group of inmates who are released into a halfway house where they must learn to live together before they can return to the outside world. Hidden cameras throughout the house catch all the action as housemates attempt to overcome the obstacles of living with convicted felons, compete in challenges to win rewards and vote on which housemate deserves to get thrown back into the hoosegow.
The Great Race meets The Apprentice. This is a competition between a group of unemployed stock brokers who lost their asses when the market collapsed. Jesse “The Body” Ventura hosts as these down-on-their-luck Wall Street wash-ups are dropped in a remote location on the other side of the world and must find their way back to New York. The American public will be willing to get behind a show that puts once-wealthy business men and women in uncomfortable situations. Competitors receive a dose of reality as they are forced to cope with challenges outside of their comfort zone, and in the end the viewers also learn that the competitors are human, too.
This one I think could legitimately work. A hybrid of HBO’s Hardknocks and Entourage, this series would chronicle the day-to-day lives of a handful of sports agents in different stages of their careers. Rookie agents hustling to land the future superstar that could launch their career to the next level would contrast the veterans battling to sign their clients next big contract, all while balancing the obligations of their personal lives. This show could give the sports fan an inside look at the business end of a professional athlete’s career while also providing a unique view on the development of his/her on-field development.