Finding Ryan Lochte's place on reality TV

Ryan Lochte needs reality TV, and reality TV needs Ryan Lochte. Which show will suit him best? Samir Hussein/P&G/Getty Images

While most Olympians will now experience a life of crushing irrelevance, ruthlessly tortured by the fact that their only notable accomplishments are forever in the rearview, popular swimmer Ryan Lochte’s successes have secured him at least two more months of mild public fascination.

He’s already expressed interest in appearing on “Dancing With the Stars,” and lots of folks are saying he’d be a snug fit as the new star of “The Bachelor.” But if he’s going to take the reality TV route, I think these two options are both kind of limiting. Once the seasons are done, so is he.

So I’ve put together a list of reality TV ideas that will allow his pop culture persona to blossom, with hopes of extending his 15 minutes in the limelight to at least a respectable 19 or so.

“The Dolphin Whisperer”

"My name is Ryan Lochte, and I have dedicated my life to helping dolphins find their porpoise." So begins every episode of “The Dolphin Whisperer,” the show where Ryan Lochte helps wayward dolphins achieve their full potential. Equipped with only a snorkel and a non-lethal disciplinary harpoon, Ryan would teach us at home how to control the noncompliant dolphins in our lives without having to send them to the tuna factory.

“Ice Road Breaststrokers”

Sometimes when you’re in a remote arctic territory and you happen upon a frozen lake, all you can do is drill a hole and go swimming until you’re on the brink of cardiac arrest. That’s the premise of “Ice Road Breaststrokers,” which Ryan would host: People go swimming and almost die. Big drama.


Pretty much just “Punk’d,” only water-based. Like one bit could be to hold a guy underwater for a minute and a half -- or as long as it takes for him to think he’s drowning -- then let him surface to see Ryan Lochte say, “You’ve just been Locht’d!” Or another bit could be to flood a small town so that everyone seeks refuge on their roofs, then have Ryan Lochte fly around in a helicopter shouting “You just got Locht’d!” through a megaphone.

“America’s Next Top Bro”

Since Ryan is a lock to win the Bro-bel Prize in Dudeness this year, he’ll serve as a judge alongside Dax Shepard and Rob Gronkowski in this talent competition to determine America’s Next Top Bro. Who looks the most chill wearing a vintage Grizzlies jersey on a long board? Who owns the most pairs of promotional wayfarers with liquor brands on the temples? Who knows all the words to the weird scat bridge in “Ants Marching”? Ryan Lochte will get to the bottom of these questions and determine a champion.

“Swamp People: No Boats Allowed”

If you haven’t seen “Swamp People,” it’s a show where hillbillies go around in boats and shoot alligators in the head. That’s the entire premise. In this new version the hunters wouldn’t be permitted boats, so Ryan would teach them how to efficiently swim through the swamp to avoid the gators. Also: The hunters would be wearing swimsuits made of raw chicken.

“Ramp My Abs!”

This show works great for both the fellas AND the ladies. Basically what happens is Ryan lies on the ground and then people try to ramp off of his abs using various personal transportation devices. So the men get to watch motorcycles getting huge air, and the women get to look at Ryan Lochte’s abs for an hour each week. There are also crashes sometimes. If this sounds like the perfect formula for a TV show to you, it’s because it is.

Got any other ideas? Leave ‘em in the comments.