Despite the solid boxing, ratings for NBC’s “The Contender” hit the canvass soon after debuting in February. As such, NBC did not schedule a second “Contender” season; however, cable sports giant ESPN is reportedly taking an interest.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ESPN is close to acquiring the rights to “The Contender,” though its unclear if the show’s format would remain the same or if the show’s stars — including Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard — would make the jump to cable.
Will Staeger of ESPN Original Entertainment tells the paper that a second season of “The Contender” could be paired with a possible new drama. John Eisendrath of ESPN’s “Playmakers,” is working on new material that may prove suitable.
Repeatedly delayed and rescheduled by NBC, “The Contender” failed to develop a large following, though the Mark Burnett/Jeffrey Katzenberg-produced series had a good number of young male viewers.
In other “Contender” news, July 22 will see Ahmed “Hollywood” Kaddour, loser of two “Contender” fights, steps into the ring with Maxell Taylor, becoming the first of the show’s alums to return to the world of officially sanctioned boxing.