Anyone have any information on NBC's "The Contender"?
Anyone have any information on NBC's "The Contender"?
I found this on Joey Gilbert's site: The show will premiere with a special 90-minute episode on Monday, March 7 (9:30/8:30 PM) and then will move to its regular time slot on Wednesday, March 9 (8:00-9:00 PM).
If you haven't, check out the official NBC site. http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Contender/
I'm looking forward to this show, not only because I'm a boxing fan myself, but also because I think Burnett puts out a quality show (more often than not).
Look for the forum for this show in the week leading up to its premiere.
Contestant on NBC Reality Show Commits Suicide
By BILL CARTER
Published: February 15, 2005
A contestant in "The Contender" a new NBC reality series about boxing scheduled to start next month, committed suicide yesterday in Philadelphia, network executives said last night.
NBC executives said that the show would go on as planned, starting March 7.
The contestant, Najai Turpin, 23, a middleweight boxer from Philadelphia who was known as Nitro, took his life, NBC executives said.
They offered no other details about the suicide, though they said they thought it had nothing to do with events on the television show.
"The Contender" chronicles not only the boxers' efforts to win the television tournament, which carries a prize of $1 million, but follows their personal lives, including their relationships with spouses and children. Mr. Turpin's girlfriend also appears in the series, NBC said.
Mr. Turpin, who entered the series as a well-regarded young fighter with a 13-1 record, had a 2-year-old daughter with his girlfriend.
Except for a planned live championship, set to take place in May, all the bouts in the "The Contender" have been completed and are on tape. Because the show, like all other reality shows, depends on the suspense of not knowing the outcome of each week's episode, no results of the bouts have been released.
NBC executives said they were saddened by the news and were setting up a fund to help Mr. Turpin's family. But they said they were convinced the network would be able to broadcast the show as planned.
Mark Burnett, the show's executive producer, said: "Nothing changes. I'm not even going to make any edits because it's real." Mr. Burnett said that at some point, the series will make a mention of Mr. Turpin's death, probably in an onscreen message at the end of an episode.
Still, the suicide presents NBC and the show's producers with the quandary of how to deal with Mr. Turpin's death without disrupting the show. Each week two boxers are selected to fight and become the central characters in that week's episode. Mr. Turpin would thus be a principal character in at least one show and if he won his first fight and continued on the series, he would be an even more significant factor.
NBC has more invested in "The Contender" than any previous reality series, having made a commitment to spend more than $2 million an episode for the 13-episode series. "The Contender" is produced by Mr. Burnett, the most accomplished producer in the reality genre. A principal in the DreamWorks studio, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is also a producer on the series.
The two men conceived the series as a way to help resurrect the sport of boxing. They have made deals with all 16 boxers involved to promote their careers. The fighters agreed not to pursue any other matches until the series was completed this spring, and the show is paying them $1,500 a week to stay in training in the interim, Mr. Burnett said.
Mr. Turpin's suicide recalled an incident that almost derailed "Survivor," Mr. Burnett's first hit reality show and the one that ignited the reality trend in American television. A contestant in the first version of the show, which was made for Swedish television and was not produced by Mr. Burnett, committed suicide after he was the first person voted off the island.
The incident stirred concerns about the risks of reality television, and led Mr. Burnett to conduct extensive psychological tests on his contestants.
Mr. Burnett said that the boxers on the show had undergone psychological testing.
A biography of Mr. Turpin on the show's Web site said he had been a restaurant employee who worked cleaning seafood when he was not training for his matches.
The biography described him as determined to use his boxing career to create a better life for himself and his family.
(edited to add the link)
there is a commercial, teaser, i suppose for this show, and there is this shot of a guy hugging his daughter with blue wrist bands and a blue headband, can anyone get a screen shot of that for me? thanks
Originally Posted by kc_chris
Thanks for the above information. Mention of the above happenings have been aired on local news and radio stations. The radio station said he shot himself in the car while his girlfriend was with him. Family and friends were absolutely shocked and saddened by this. Obviously. Sad indeed!
just heard about this yesterday and I was SHOCKED
I sure as hell hope they sack the show because I'm not watching it knowing one of them comitted suicide.
Guess you won't be watching, jonnyfairplay because Mark Burnett fully intends to go forward with airing the show, according to the news articles :shrug
crap sorry for posting double
great first impression :(
anyways the I might watch this show after reading the above article.
WARNING: This article contains some spoilers.
'Contender' will enter the ring as planned, despite tragedy
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY
NBC bills The Contender as "the next great human drama," but the reality boxing series premiering next month already has more drama than it bargained for.
Unknown motive: Police say Najai "Nitro" Turpin, 23, killed himself Monday in Philadelphia; he earlier was eliminated from The Contender.
One of its 16 contestants, Najai "Nitro" Turpin, 23, committed suicide at 4 a.m. ET Monday. Turpin shot himself in the head while sitting with his girlfriend in a parked car outside the West Philadelphia gym where he trained, police told the Associated Press.
Investigators were unsure why Turpin took his life.
The latest from producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice), the series starts March 7 (8:30 p.m. ET/PT) and will run as planned.
The Contender completed taping last fall except for the finale, a live prize bout scheduled for May. Turpin was eliminated earlier in the competition, which pits two boxers in each episode and allows the winner to advance.
The episode that features Turpin will be dedicated to him and will solicit donations to a trust fund to benefit his family.
NBC promotional materials say Turpin was orphaned at 18 when his mother died. He cared for a younger brother, sister, niece and nephew while holding down jobs doing road work and cleaning seafood.
He also left a 2-year-old daughter along with his girlfriend, who appears in the show.
The show could get a ratings boost from viewers curious to glean signs of strife, potentially giving it a better chance of success than Fox's copycat The Next Great Champ, which premiered last fall and quickly failed.
Sugar Ray Leonard, the retired champion who co-hosts The Contender with Sylvester Stallone, says he was "devastated to hear the news."
"Najai was a very soft-spoken young man; everyone fell in love with him, with his personality, with his way of doing things," Leonard says. "He had a great deal of natural ability, and he was extremely confident."
Leonard says he saw no sign of inner turmoil and described the prime-time exposure as "an awesome opportunity" that would have boosted Turpin's career.
But Turpin's manager, Percy Custus, told the Philadelphia Daily News that among other troubles, Turpin was "frustrated" by a Contender contract that paid him $1,800 a week but prevented him from appearing in a boxing match until the series ends in May.
"His death comes as a shock to all of us," Burnett said in a statement. The episode that features his bout "will stand as a wonderful testament to who he was," but it "will not be changed."
Although The Contender initially was conceived as an outlet for inexperienced but promising fighters, Turpin, as did other contestants, already had an established record.
He turned pro in 2001 and fought mainly in his hometown of Philadelphia. His record before appearing in the show was 11-1, including eight knockouts.