By D.J. Gallo
Special to Page 3
Wednesday evening brought to an end the fifth season of "The Bachelor," as Jesse Palmer confronted a couple of the women he rejected with his new love, Jessica, in tow. Palmer, a New York Giants backup quarterback, has given new life to "The Bachelor" franchise -- if not to his own career -- as he has attracted sports fans who wouldn't normally watch a romantic reality series.
Television executives have taken notice. When the networks unveiled their 2004-05 lineups to advertisers last week, reality shows were prominent. And nearly all them will include a sports element in hopes of adding viewers.
Take a look at the lineup.
"The Amazing Race" (CBS)
New Concept: Two elite American sprinters try to complete a 100-meter race in less than 10 seconds without the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.
"American Idol" (FOX)
New Concept: In America's premier talent show, pop star hopefuls sing the songs of famous athletes -- including the best of Shaquille O'Neal's rap hits, numbers from Deion Sanders' critically-acclaimed 1995 album "Prime Time," and Roy Jones Jr.'s ironic 2002 track "Who Wanna Get Knocked Out."
"American Juniors" (FOX)
New Concept: America votes to free the country's most overscheduled child athletes from their overbearing parents.
"Anything for Love" (FOX)
New Concept: A series that chronicles the lengths that tournament directors will go to in their quest to not upset easily-rattled PGA star Davis Love III.
"The Apprentice" (NBC)
New Concept: Successful businessman and egomaniac George Steinbrenner fires people simply for the joy he gets out of firing people.
"Are You Hot?" (ABC)
New Concept: A panel of LPGA, WNBA and WTA officials rate the appearances of rookie players to make sure they dress themselves in a sexy and marketing-friendly way.
"Beg, Borrow & Deal" (ESPN)
New Concept: Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane tries to re-sign his top free agents by begging, borrowing and dealing without any money or resources at his disposal.
"The Benefactor" (ABC)
New Concept: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gives away a $1 million bonus to any of his players who are willing to play defense for more than five minutes.
"Boot Camp" (FOX)
New Concept: New York Giants go through a hellacious mini-camp led by Tom Coughlin. The weakest players file a grievance with the players union at the end of each day.
"Dream Job" (ESPN)
New Concept: Wannabe baseball players compete to become an actual second baseman for the New York Yankees.
"Extreme Makeover" (ABC)
New Concept: Athletes are chosen to receive an "extreme makeover" of their form by a team of coaches. Early episodes include a shooting coach for Shaquille O'Neal, a swing coach for Jim Furyk and a batting coach for Craig Counsell.
"Fear Factor" (NBC)
New Concept: Contestants confront their biggest fears through physical stunts and disgusting eating assignments, such as eating finger food served by Moises Alou and staring at a naked David Wells while being fed JELL-O.
"I'm A Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here!" (ABC)
New Concept: Raul Mondesi endures playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 30 days in hopes of earning a minimal salary.
New Concept: Kellen Winslow Jr. talks.
"Joe Millionaire" (FOX)
New Concept: Twenty NFL teams vow for the affections of a draft prospect they think is better than he really is. Hosted by Ryan Leaf.
"The Littlest Groom" (FOX)
New Concept: Women compete for the affections of Denver Nuggets guard Earl Boykins.
"The Mole" (ABC)
New Concept: Dermatologists take part in mental and physical tests as they compete for Drew Brees's health-insurance money and the right to remove his mole.
"Mr. Personality" (FOX)
New Concept: Twenty psychologists must rely solely on their training as they try to provide Tim Duncan with a personality.
"My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" (FOX)
New Concept: A young woman can win $500,000 if she can convince her family to let her marry Warren Sapp.
"The Osbournes" (MTV)
New Concept: Chronicles the boring and subdued daily activities of ex-Yankees middle reliever Donovan Osborne and his family.
"Playing It Straight" (FOX)
New Concept: A group of athletes, some of who have been rumored to be gay, compete to prove to their teammates that they are straight. Hosted by Cleveland reliever Kaz Tadano.
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo)
New Concept: Five male figure skaters try to convince an NHL defenseman to bedazzle his jersey and wear glitter on his face.
"The Restaurant" (NBC)
New Concept: A restaurant entrepreneur tries to make ends meet after comping an expensive dinner attended by Jayson Williams and the Harlem Globetrotters.
"Rich Guy, Poor Guy" (ABC)
New Concept: Two baseball owners -- one the Yankees' George Steinbrenner, the other Pittsburgh's Kevin McClatchy -- try to plug their team's holes from the same group of free agents.
New Concept: NBA Atlantic Division coaches seek to win with inferior talent and not be fired from their jobs.
"The Swan" (FOX)
New Concept: Tiger Woods gets a full swing makeover from Butch Harmon in hopes of becoming dominant again and winning a major.
"Temptation Island" (FOX)
New Concept: Bud Selig travels to exotic locations in hopes of finding a home for the Montreal Expos.
"The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" (CBS)
New Concept: Flabby, buxom PGA Tour golfers model Victoria's Secret's latest bras.
"Who Wants To Marry My Dad?" (NBC)
New Concept: Shawn Kemp's children choose among their mothers to decide which one would make the best wife for their father.
D.J. Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine, as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com.