Show will chronicle 'Quest for Six'
Next up on the reality show circuit -- Lance Armstrong.
The 32-year-old winner of five consecutive Tour de France races will be the star of "The Lance Chronicles: The Real Life Saga of Armstrong's Quest for Six."
"Lance's achievements transcend the sport," said Gavin Harvey, president of the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), the cable channel that will show the first of 13 episodes tonight. "And when he's not on his bike, he's a celebrity with an incredible survivor story."
The network, which has broadcast the Tour de France live since 2001, began filming Armstrong and his cycling team in November. The 30-minute episodes will focus as much on his intense training regimen as they will on his off-the-course life, including the filming of a Nike commercial and his relationship with girlfriend and singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow. They live together in Gerona, Spain. Armstrong divorced his wife, Kristin, last year.
"All throughout the tour you hear people say, 'He's bionic,'" said his mother, Linda, who had a chance to see a screening of the first episode. "This will allow people to see a side of Lance they've never seen. Just like a lot of us, he has to have his coffee in the morning and he's got a great sense of humor."
The network, whose logo will appear on Armstrong's jersey for the first time in this year's Tour de France, decided to do the show because of the "explosion in the demand by fans for more information about the athletes they follow," according to Harvey.
He would not say how much Armstrong is making to permit the camera crews to invade his everyday living environment, but he did say that the network is committing plenty of dollars on production costs. The show is being broadcast in high definition.
Despite the relatively small group of professional cycling enthusiasts in America, Armstrong's rise from his battle with testicular cancer to the top of his sport has made him a household name.
If Armstrong is able to prevail in this year's Tour de France, which takes place July 3-25, he will become the first cyclist to finish with the yellow jersey six times.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Spurs cruise past Grizzlies to take Game 1
- LeBron to Vogel: 'We're not just another team'
- Cabrera hits 3 HRs, but Tigers lose in Texas
- Greening's goal in 2 OT leads Sens by Pens