BURBANK, Calif. -– June 25, 2004 -– Renowned boxing manager, author and journalist Jackie Kallen has signed on to appear in "The Contender," NBC's new unscripted series that will launch a competitive search for the next boxing superstar. Kallen will serve as the "den mother" to the show's 16 boxers. Her role will be to make sure they eat properly, train diligently, keep the fighting in the ring, and lend her shoulder to lean on when they are tired, homesick or have problems. Kallen joins the team of Hollywood heavy hitters - Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mark Burnett, Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard.

The announcement was made by "The Contender" executive producer Mark Burnett (NBC's "The Apprentice," "Survivor").

"Once again, we've landed another great addition to our all-star team," Burnett said. Jackie has established herself as a well-respected force in the world of boxing and will bring the perfect touch to this show as a mentor, den-mother and care-taker to our contestants."

As one of the first female boxing managers to succeed in this male-dominated sport, she guided four boxers to world titles; was at one time the commissioner of the International Female Boxers Association and has won numerous awards and honors. Kallen was also the inspiration behind the Paramount Pictures film "Against the Ropes" starring Meg Ryan and authored the book "Hit Me with Your Best Shot."

"The Contender" will follow boxers from training camp through an evolving series of ring challenges over 16 episodes – the finalists will compete live for 1 million in prize money. The driving force behind the series will be the pursuit of the American dream and the natural trials, tribulations and heartbreak inherent in that quest. The canvas of the show is much broader than boxing – it will give viewers a first-hand look into the real life hopes, triumphs and defeats of the contestants.

"The Contender" will be a joint production of Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks Television and Rogue Marble. Stallone, Burnett and Katzenberg are the executive producers.