August 2, 2004 -- THE winners of NBC's "Next Action Star" didn't have time to follow the quick path to low-level reality-show stardom — they were too busy making a network movie.
Corinne van Ryck de Groot and Sean Carrigan, former pro boxers who emerged victorious in "Next Action Star," will star in "Bet Your Life," airing Wednesday (8-10 p.m./Ch. 4).
Starring in the movie was payoff — along with $25,000 apiece — for winning "Next Action Star," in which NBC and action-movie guru Joel Silver teamed to find one male and female aspiring actor who could headline a "Lethal Weapon"-type TV movie.
During the show, Corinne and Sean lived together in a house (naturally) with other "Next Action Star" wannabes and went through rigorous action-hero-type training, for which the two ex-boxers were well-prepared.
"We wrapped production on 'Next Action Star' in May 2003, and the first day of photography [on 'Bet Your Life'] was early last September," said "Bet Your Life" producer Alan Schechter.
"Corinne and Sean didn't get the first draft of the script until a couple of weeks before shooting began, and they were really able to wrap their hands around it."
In "Bet Your Life," Sean plays Sonny Briggs, an ex-pro quarterback and gambler who's framed for murder by a psycho high-stakes gambler (Billy Zane) — and is pursued by take-no-prisoners bounty hunter Carmen Rollins (Corinne).
Schechter said "Bet Your Life" was written well before "Next Action Star" was cast, so that all that was left, after the reality show, was to film the movie.
Corinne and Sean did most of their own stuntwork — as would any other "action star," Schechter said.
"They did a lot of stunts, falls, tumbles and gun work," he said. "This was part of the ['Next Action Star'] thesis for us — to create a show that represents the honest process of how we do it in the real world with Mel Gibson, Sly Stallone or Bruce Willis, of how they're trained in this fashion."