LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Michael Vick is hoping to play the reality game.
The incarcerated NFL star has talked to producers about launching an unscripted program. The proposed documentary series would follow Vick beginning July 20, the day of his scheduled release from federal custody, and show him trying to “make amends for his past.”
Sources said eager producers even visited the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback in prison in the hope of signing him. As a result, a few parties claim to have obtained rights to a Vick project.
Vick is serving a 23-month sentence for dogfighting conspiracy. His attorneys did not return a call for comment, but they told a judge this month at a bankruptcy hearing that Vick has agreed to a “television documentary deal” that will pay him $600,000.
That number represents only a small portion of what Vick is asking for, however. The athlete, who reportedly owes millions to creditors, is seeking a high-dollar figure for participation in the show.
Among the questions surrounding such a deal is the matter of which network would be interested in a Vick reality show. Insiders place bets on A&E and Spike TV as likely first stops.
“It sure won’t be Animal Planet,” more than one source quipped.
The Vick reality marketplace appears to be larger than that of another tabloid figure seeking a reality-show bailout: Nadya “Octomom” Suleman, who despite headlines suggesting otherwise, has struggled to find a cable network willing to adopt her as part of its programing family.
If Vick’s show finds a home, he wouldn’t be the first celebrity to get help with legal fees from TV networks. Producer Mark Burnett locked up Martha Stewart for a version of “The Apprentice” and her daytime talk show “Martha” before she was released from federal prison in 2005. There also have been pre-prison countdown reality shows, including Lil Kim’s “Countdown to Lockdown” on BET in 2006 and T.I.’s “Road to Redemption” this year on MTV.
Vick’s incarceration already has inspired one series: National Geographic Channel’s “DogTown” devoted the opening episode of its second season to the rehabilitation of 22 of Vick’s traumatized pit bulls.
Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters