I admit it -- I'm a TV junkie. "The Wire", "The Shield", "Nanny 911", "America's Next Top Model", "Battlestar Galactica", "The Office", "America's Top Wire-Wearing Nanny At The Office" -- you name the show, and I can probably provide full episode recaps off the top of my head.
The NHL Network debuted on U.S. television earlier this season, which definitely will help improve the league's visibility where it needs visibility most. But contrary to popular belief, the programmers shouldn't feel compelled to air only hockey games all the time.
In fact, in the same way MTV no longer feels the need to air music videos, the NHLN should make every effort to include some lifestyle and fictional shows in its mix.
That's where me and my fly-by-night TV consulting operation come in. These proposed series would have both hardcore hockey types and neophytes of the game glued to their sets:
So You Think You Can Defend?
The Toronto Maple Leafs hold open tryouts to augment their hapless defense corps. Judges include Borje Salming, the ghost of former O.J. Simpson defense attorney Johnny Cochrane, GM John Ferguson (maybe) and the faceless Star Chamber that is the board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Winner receives a 25-year, $200-million contract, complete with no-movement clause, stock options for Google.com and complete naming rights for the unborn children of all Maple Leafs fans who sign up at the team's Web site.
A.K.A., "How I Drafted And Developed A Russian Player And Stopped Him From Returning Home For More Money".
A weekly panel discussion of pressing world issues, featuring members of the NHL enforcer community. Sample debates include "Wanna Go?", "Hey Moderator, Who You Callin' Lummox? And What's A Lummox? Wait, Don't Tell Me ... It's A Guy Who Fixes Air Conditioners, Right?", "Your Mother Blankety-Blanked A Blankety-Blank While Blankety-Blanking The Blank 'Till He Was Blank In The Blank (Gene Rayburn Tribute Show)", and "Who Choose This As Topic? Arrrgh! Hulk Angry! Hulk Smash!"
The Lightning's superb trio of Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis finally get their own reality show when they agree to move into a Tampa Bay apartment complex for a year. If that's not enough, your sides are guaranteed to split thanks to the comedic stylings of building superintendent John Tortorella, who carries a tool belt around like Schneider from "One Day At A Time".
In a medical miracle heralded to the heavens by Reebok and Gatorade, Sidney Crosby is cloned, and 40 copies of him are sent to a privately owned New Mexico town where they are left to fend for themselves. In the series opener -- and every other episode, for that matter -- everything goes even better than scouts projected.
The First 48
Starring Jim Balsillie and his intrepid attorney, this mystery/drama follows the billionaire Canadian businessman through his initial, quadruple-dozen attempts to purchase an NHL team. Subtitles included for the benefit of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The inside story of Ted Saskin's reign at the NHL Players' Association.
Spend an hour each week with a hockey stats geek and you'll wonder where the time disappeared to! As part of this gripping educational program, you'll discover the inherent joys in logging hits, time on ice, and meaningful one-way conversations with your computer. Not recommended for children, or anyone interested in a social life.
Watch and be amazed as the old-as-dirt Calgary Flames attempt a feat that proved practically impossible for them last season -- winning games away from home.
Just Shoot Me
Thirty fun-filled minutes of a puck begging Toronto's Tomas Kaberle to do what everyone else wishes he'd do.
Curtis Joseph, Robert Esche and Ed Belfour offer their services to any and all NHL employers, with non-ideal results. Featuring special guest appearances by the Maytag Repairman, and Vladimir and Estragon from "Waiting For Godot".
Employees and friends of the Philadelphia Flyers lock team ownership and management in a room and, with tears in their eyes, explain how the continual signings of cementheads such as Steve Downie and Jesse Boulerice are destroying them emotionally and endangering their relationships (not to mention, their opponents).
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