By Bill Simmons
Page 2

THE FINALISTS -- ROUND 2, THE WINNERS: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-16


Name: Matt Bank
College: Dartmouth College, 2004
Residence: New York, NY
Current Job: Structured finance paralegal
Age: 22

The way I see it, ancillary sports networks should be guided by the same two principles as late-night Cinemax:
1. Plausibility is overrated.
2. Entertainment value is maximized after a few beers.

With those considerations in mind, welcome to ESPN6: the rough-around-the-edges surrogate child of the ESPN family; the Ryan Atwood of the sporting world. This season's programming lineup synthesizes the unbelievable with the intoxicated in ways Anna Nicole could only dream possible.

ESPN6: Be envied ...

"Trading Headcases": The franchise -- the soul -- of ESPN6. Athletes with stability problems pack up for other athletic pursuits to find out just how unstable they are. Imagine Milton Bradley wearing #84 for the Vikings and firing the Gatorade jug onto the field after a bad call, while simultaneously, Randy Moss, in Dodger blue, homers in SBC and moons the Giants fans. What does Vin Scully say to that? "Randy Moss, interestingly, has an extensive collection of vintage Coke bottles." Possible blockbuster season finale: Mike Tyson lies down on the scorer's table in the Palace after a tiff with Ben Wallace and some guy lobs a beer on him. What's the over-under on people killed? 6? 11?

"Pressure Cooker": Starring Marty Schottenheimer, Nancy Kerrigan, Roberto Baggio, and the 2004 New York Yankees. They all share a house and get tossed into paralyzing high-pressure situations like having to put out a grease fire or untangle Christmas lights. Hilarity ensues.

"Dave Roberts, We Hardly Knew Ye": A deserved tribute.

"Budweiser Grand Jury": Much like the Budweiser Hot Seat, but instead, you'd get Barry Bonds facing a legal tribunal answering under the risk of perjury, "Do you realize you're a humongous jerk?" If the demand for watching athletes stagger through criminal proceedings comes anywhere close to the supply, we'd have exactly one billion more episodes than Heather Locklear had on "LAX". Also, I'd require the host to select a blazer/turtleneck combination from Kevin McHale's closet, which would be cool.

"Golf Tips by Gary Bettman": Like his league, I'm not sure anyone would watch this either. Ba-ZING!

"A Dead Horse": JB, Terry, Howie and Jimmy fiercely debate hot-button NFL issues like, "Is Ray Lewis a good linebacker?" "Is Tom Brady cool in the pocket?" "Is a colostomy unpleasant?"

"110%": A future cult classic. Each week Mark Blount would take a new job and we'd watch him flounder around avoiding work. Every episode would end with Mark getting chewed out for his apathy and summarily fired. Then he'd get a cream pie in the face.

Perhaps some of these stylings won't last, others may, but I say if even once a season you devote a show to Iron Mike going murderously ballistic than you're doing something right. You can't find that on Cinemax.

Name: Chuck Bell
College: Ithaca College
Residence: Kenmore, NY
Current Job: Grant Writer
Age: 29

Monday: Queer Eye for the Mustache Guy
Premise: Makeovers for Pennsylvania sports fans
Pilot: "Are Yoos Guys Putting Sequins on my Starter Jacket?!"

Tuesday: The Simple Life -- Ozzie and Jose
Premise: Those zany Cansecos barnstorm the country leaving a wake of destruction
Pilot: After three days as interns for Merrill Lynch, Jose confesses to insider trading, cuts a deal for immunity, turns States Evidence, and implicates all of middle management.

Wednesday: Classic Beer Pong
Premise: The '85 Bears, '93 Phillies, '04 Red Sox, '86 Mets, '74 Flyers, and other drinking stalwarts compete for Lord Miller's Cup
Pilot: Captain Millar surprises everybody by replacing the puking trio of Kim, Arroyo, and Mendoza with his "Legends Bullpen"; El Guapo, Rod (Shooter) Beck and Gentleman Jim Corsi. Then Schilling switches hats, sinks the last shot and the '04 Sox beat the Kruk-captained '93 Phillies. Eck announces the game with exaggerated Mean Gene Okerlund excitement and shock.

Thursday: The Surreal (20 to) Life
Premise: The Juice, Ray Lewis, Jayson Williams, Lawrence Phillips and Rae Carruth adjust to life together in Cellblock D
Pilot: After a drunk driving accident, Steve Nash gets convicted of involuntary manslaughter and gets the Oz welcome.

Warning -- graphic scenes involving, Bridgette Nielson, Flava-Flav, and a hot tub frequently appear for no reason

Friday (After Dark): The Girls of the Sports Guy Intern Contest
Premise: Self-described "model-hot" female participants talk sports in negligees
Pilot: Pillow fight concerning the DH rule

In case of backlash from alternative-male viewers, ESPN6 reserves the right to fill timeslot with live feeds of Jimmy Kimmel trying to seduce Steve Garvey

Saturday (morning): Strongest Man -- Juiced
Premise: Steroid users display their singlets and body hair, while performing feats of strength using props ranging from a 16-wheeler to 4,000 lbs. of whale testicle
Pilot: Barry, Sheff, Romo, Jeremy Giambi's brother, Benito Santiago (huh?), and some guy named Magnus take half-court set shots with medicine balls full of Mercury.

Sunday: White Shadow Reunion
Premise: Throw Simmons a freakin' bone

In Development:

"Gator Country"
Follows Mike Greenwell through a season of little league coaching, including fights with parents, umpires, and his team. Climax occurs when Greenwell violates the restraining order by appearing at his team's game in a trenchcoat and homemade 1988 AL MVP hat, with a boom box playing "Way Down Yonder on the Chattahootchie".

"Scotch Meat"
Rowdy Roddy Piper and Brutus Beefcake -- a former token collector -- are gay lovers on the Vegas police force. Piper, an infomercial star, and Beefcake combine their intricate knowledge of mass transit with people's consumer weaknesses to expose those preying on the vulnerable. They just can't play by the rules. (MANY porn star cameos).

Name: Jake Brill
College: Bowdoin College, 2004
Residence: Brighton, MA
Current Job: Mental Health Associate
Age: 22

ESPN6 Monday Primetime Programming:

7:00 PM: Live coverage of ESPN Football League 34527 Internet fantasy draft. Sponsored by Vidal Sassoon hair products. Hosted by Mel Kiper Jr.

8:30 PM: "Latrell Does it". A spin-off of Wanda Sykes show, this program follows Latrell Sprewell's continuing attempts to find supplemental income since his meager NBA salary cannot feed his family. Each week Latrell tries a new job, such as a grocery bagger, a TSA screener or a pimp.

9:00 PM: "The Ostrich". This show offers makeovers to the ugliest members of the sports world, such as Popeye Jones and Randy Johnson. This week's episode features Sam Cassell, with attempts at pedicures, botox or even a frying pan to the face because, sweet sassy molassey, anything would be an improvement.

10:00 PM: "Law and Order: Sports Crimes". Ripped from the headlines, this spin-off focuses on crimes perpetrated by high profile athletes. Starring Emilio Estevez as the renegade detective and Bonnie Bernstein as his sassy sidekick. This week features a young football player who is caught drunkenly taking a dump in a girl's closet with the pit bulls he is raising to fight.

11:00 PM: "I Love This Sporting Year". Along the lines of VH1's I Love the 90's, this show welcomes B-list actors and athletes to reminisce about the notable years in sports history. Highlights include Rachael Harris imitating the Ickey Shuffle in the '89 show and the Modern Humorist discussing the cultural impact of Prime Time's pop smash "Must Be the Money" in the '95 show. If nothing else, this show ensures that the heating isn't shut off in Michael Ian Black and Hal Sparks' condos.

12:00 AM: "The Yao Show". This late night talk show stars Rockets center Yao Ming as he struggles to master English in his interviews beyond "Kah I wray a check?" House band "I love Waltah" featuring Walter McCarty on vocals, Bernie Williams on classical guitar, Barry Zito on lead guitar and Bronson Arroyo on rhythm guitar. Tonight Yao welcomes Michael Olowokandi, and they discuss their lives as disappointing centers picked 1st in the draft.

1:00 AM (When no one's watching): Reruns of "The Magic Hour". Tonight Magic is joined by Sinbad and Pauly Shore as guests, with the musical stylings of Sixpence None the Richer.

2:00 AM (When really no one's watching): "The Sports Intern Cartoon". A cartoon about my quirky life and the antics of all my sports-obsessed friends. Truly hilarious.

3:00 AM (When absolutely, 100% no one in this world is watching): "The Sports Guy Cartoon."

Name: Chris Busch
College: Florida State University
Residence: Jacksonville, FL
Current Job: Actuary
Age: 27

My ESPN6 show ideas, as described (with ad-lib) by various mystery journalists/"athletes":

You Make the Play:
Think you could have made The Catch? Or knocked down Laettner's turnaround? Or hit Vinatieri's kick (or his other kick ... or his other kick)? Do you think you could hit Mary Beth's fastball? Or score a goal against Mary Beth's lacrosse team? Or comb your hair like the amazing Brett Favre does every single morning of his glorious life? Well I talked to Brett on my cell phone yesterday, and he had this to say: "Prove it."

Each week, contestants from around the country vie for a single shot at reproducing some of the most memorable moments in sports. Phil Mickelson's Masters putt looked like a simple tap-in from your living room couch .. but I talked to Phil on the phone yesterday, and he wants to know this: Can you hole it on national television with $25,000 on the line? That's a whole lot of Starbucks. I know that I think that I think this show will be the greatest thing since the double-skim tall mocha hazelnut latte. I think. -- PK

ESPN6's Wide World of Monkeys:
This has to happen. If I came up to you in a bar and bet you a round of drinks that scientists had trained monkeys to feed themselves grapes with brain-controlled robotic arms ... I mean, would I ever have to pay for another drink? Couldn't I just travel from bar to bar, winning free drinks? Good times. Monkeys are doing way too many things that should be on television but are not. And if they can control robot arms with their minds, I think that team sports is a very distinct possibility. This idea deserves its own column. I'm getting so excited just thinking about it that my head is about to explode. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I've got a fever, and the only prescription ... .is more monkey. -- BS

P.S. Peyton sucks.

I'm sorry. There is a new show, a new type of SportsCenter, a show where recaps always include the outcome against the spread, and the lines of big games are broken down each week, and each team's preseason odds are recalled throughout the year. Because of legal matters, that is all I can say. I accept full responsibility for everything. And I'm sorry. Please accept my sincere apology. I am standing here, and I'm telling you the truth. I am so sorry for letting all of you down. I'm sorry. -- J the G

Shows shot down by the lawyers:

  • Max Kellerman hosts Friday Night Bar Fights
  • WNBA Sumo Wrestling
  • NBA Inside Stuff 2, presented by Karl Malone, as played by Jimmy Kimmel.

    Name: Kevin Cott
    College: University of Georgia, 2002
    Residence: Atlanta, GA
    Current Job: law school student
    Age: 24

    I was thrilled to discover that I had cracked the final twenty-five, but finding out that I've been handed the keys to my own ESPN network goes beyond my wildest dreams. Consequently, I've become completely unbearable to be around. I've hired a chauffer to take me to class, speak only in third person, and have taken to back-handing people who disagree with me. These changes have not gone over well with those that know me, but I don't really care since I'm about to become a huge celebrity and will forget all their names anyway. So, what I'm trying to say is, Kevin thanks you. Now, on to the programming ...

  • The Season: (insert fantasy league name -- ex.: Old School Nasty)
    A mockumentary in the Christopher Guest and company mold about an over-the-top fantasy league. Episodes would involve a draft taken more seriously than Middle East peace negotiations, a life-long friendship being torn apart over a questionable trade, a maniacal commissioner on an out of control power trip, an owner who completely breaks down and refuses to leave his home (think Favreau in Swingers) when his top pick tears an ACL, and the most elongated slow-motion celebration ever in the season finale when a champion is crowned.

  • Outside the Lines: The Box
    Bob Ley investigates the mysterious disappearance of this legendary hairstyle. Great box cuts from the past will be profiled, such as 'Nique, Malone, Ewing, Kenny Walker, etc. Experts speculate as to who will pioneer its triumphant return in the logical progression from the retro afro.

  • Who Wants to Marry a Turkoglu?

  • The Office
    Take an NBA player, Nene for example, and film him in the off-season at an office job. Nene makes copies, Nene argues over who cleans the coffee pot, Nene wants Panda Express but Chuck and Steph want to make a Wendy's run.

  • SportsCentury
    1. The Gold Club
    2. Jack Haley
    3. Al Bundy

  • Storytellers: Barry Zito
    One man, one guitar ... and the truth

  • Inside the Actor's Studio: Athletes
    Shaq discusses getting into character for "Kazaam", Hulk Hogan explains his method acting in "Mr. Nanny", Kobe just talks about his everyday life

    (Note: at all times, split screen used to capture James Lipton's reactions.)

    Two serious and completely self-indulgent ideas:

  • Every Georgia Tech game that Kenny Anderson played in. For two years, he was the greatest college point guard I've ever seen. Hands down. His NBA career is just a bad dream.

  • All-access coverage from the Chicago pre-draft camp. Basically, an NBA junkie's heaven.

    Emergency filler:

  • The Magic Hour (syndicated)
  • The Sweet Sounds of Wayman Tisdale

    That's how I roll.

    THE FINALISTS -- ROUND 2, THE WINNERS: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-16


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