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Nickelodeon show reveals Cam Newton is afraid of snakes, but not afraid to take chances

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Exclusive look at Cam Newton's new show (1:40)

Here's a sneak peek at two scenes from Cam Newton's new show on Nickelodeon, "All in with Cam Newton." (1:40)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton is afraid of snakes.

Not just a little bit.

A lot.

The reigning NFL MVP might be "Superman" on the football field, but in a swimming pool playing water polo, he’s Clark Kent.

These are things you will learn about the Carolina Panthers quarterback when you watch his Nickelodeon television show -- "All in With Cam Newton" -- that premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

These are things Newton learned about himself filming 20 episodes of the show, in which he pairs children ages 7 to 15 with mentors who can help them fulfill their dreams.

OK, Newton already knew he was afraid of snakes. His fear just was magnified for the world to see when the 6-foot-5, 260-pound man-child hid around the corner while an aspiring veterinarian -- Soleil, standing less than 4 feet tall -- held a Burmese python.

But the show reveals a side of Newton that goes beyond giving footballs to kids after touchdowns, that goes beyond showing disappointment after losing the Super Bowl.

It reveals a side that is humbled by his inability to dominate in everything as he has in football for much of his 27 years, a side that realizes he has a bigger purpose in life than throwing touchdown passes.

It reveals a side that shows Newton has fears just like everyone else.

"That’s what life is all about, overcoming fears, overcoming things that make you uncomfortable, and do different things," Newton told ESPN.com as he discussed the series. "With this show, it forced me to do that, and I liked it."

Newton was the headliner for the show, showing the same goofy, playful and sometimes-cocky side one often sees on the field.

But the kids are the show's stars, beginning with the first episode when Newton helps Jackson become a meteorologist.

"That was the fun in it," Newton said. "Being around one child one day playing basketball ... and then being around another child who wanted to be a competitive cheerleader. That was different.

"Usually, I have people cheer for me."

Filming began in the Los Angeles area shortly after Carolina lost to Denver in Super Bowl 50. It didn’t take away Newton’s pain from the 24-10 defeat.

But, as Newton said, "It didn’t give me time to dwell on it."

"Talking with the kids as well as the parents, everybody saw it," Newton said of the Super Bowl. "And some of the kids didn’t know anything about football, and we had better conversations because they didn’t look at me like I was that type of athlete.

"With them it forced me to have a newfound respect over so many different professions that this world had to offer."

Newton spent countless hours in taping and production, often starting his day at 7 a.m. and wrapping up at 9 p.m. He also made time for workouts -- sometimes late at night -- not losing sight of being ready for offseason workout programs.

Last week, he spent the first half of the day practicing with the team in Charlotte, then flew to Washington to film a segment with First Lady Michelle Obama on the White House lawn.

To those who say the show was a distraction from football, Newton responds, "It wasn’t."

"If anything it was a distraction from my time off," Newton said. "I had an unbelievable time viewing the world. I had opportunities to go to Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., different parts of California, being on the beach trying to learn how to surf ... it was just an eye-opening experience."

This also was an opportunity for Newton to use his influence to encourage kids in much the same way his own mentors did for him growing up.

"I constantly encourage them to go see the world and for them to think outside the box," Newton said. "This was a chance for me to think outside the box ... trying to have a big impact."

Newton says he doesn’t have a favorite episode. The moments he cherished the most came off camera when he talked to the kids or their parents over lunch.

It was during those times that he learned the most about them, and sometimes himself.

One of Newton’s favorite impromptu moments happened while driving to a shoot in the Charlotte area. Noticing some kids playing football on a middle school playground, Newton and a photographer stopped the car, jumped the fence and surprised them.

“It was as random as finding money on the ground," Newton said. “Then one kid was like, 'Oh, man! That’s Cam Newton!' It was mayhem after that."

At one point the entire schoolyard of kids was dabbing.

Yes, the Atlanta-based dance that Newton popularized last season is prevalent in the series.

That Newton did the show shouldn’t come as a surprise. He said when entering the league as the first pick of the 2011 draft he wanted to be more than a football player, that he wanted to be an entertainer.

The show, which was being planned well before Newton’s celebrity status skyrocketed during an MVP season, is another example that he’s well on his way to achieving that.

So was the ESPN World Fame 100 list, released Wednesday. Newton, at No. 32, was the highest-rated NFL player among the 100 most famous athletes in the world.

"It’s humbling," Newton said. “Like honest to God, it’s extremely humbling. ... I came into this league trying to be the best football player that I could possibly be, and now with that comes a responsibility.

"Me being on TV, forcing me to understand who I am and what I bring to the table."

Newton's wish is that those watching the Nickelodeon show will see that he's not just a football player.

"Just a person who is very concerned about kids and having fun doing it," he said. "I had so much fun doing this show. You will see it."