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He’s out of prison, back in the NFL, and now Michael Vick is going to star in his own television series.
The quarterback, who took his first regular-season pro snap just two weeks ago after serving 18 months in prison, is partnering with BET for a new eight-part docu-series scheduled to air early next year. The program, tentatively titled “The Michael Vick Project,” spotlights his controversial comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles while also examining his tumultuous past — including his troubled childhood and his 2007 arrest for running a dogfighting ring.
“I just want people to really get to know me as an individual,” Vick said last week in an interview from his home in Philadelphia. “What I want to do is change the perception of me. I am a human being. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, and I wish it had never happened. But it’s not about how you fall, but about how you pick yourself up.”
The onetime NFL star’s decision to expose his private life to a television audience follows a flurry of recent news and sports media interviews, which began with “60 Minutes” in mid-August. The Vick series is a gamble for a quarterback who is eager to rehabilitate his tarnished image but also doesn’t want to incur the further wrath of animal rights protesters, many of whom argued against his reinstatement to the NFL.
That may be difficult. Officials with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals expressed skepticism about the project.
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For marketers, the college and NFL action during football season translates to major ad spend, and as the action heats up, fans jump online to stay in tune. According to Compete.com, football sites saw a sharp uptick in seasonal traffic in August, with Unique Visitors (UVs) to the Compete Football category up 92.2% over July, 2009. While NFL.com led the pack with nearly 6.5 Million Unique Visitors in August, fantasy fanatics flocked to CBSsports.com (up 41% to 4.35 Million Unique Visitors), fantasysports.yahoo.com (up 79% to 4.75 Million UVs), and FFtoolbox.com (up 350% to 579,000 UVs) to start their own seasons.
Posted August 18, 2009on:
Y.E. Yang’s upset win over Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship was a television hit that even picked up extra viewers for CBS’s interview with quarterback Michael Vick.
Nielsen Media Research says its overnight measurements of big cities found ratings for the golf tournament up 150 percent over 2008. Only 4 million people watched the final round last year. Woods was injured and didn’t play in the tournament, and the Summer Olympics were televised at the same time.
Nielsen and CBS don’t yet have a precise estimate of the audience nationally for this year. In the metered markets, it was the best PGA final round since 2002, when Woods lost by a stroke to Rich Beem.
The golf tournament led directly into “60 Minutes,” which featured Vick’s interview about his prison time for running a dogfighting operation. CBS estimates that some 12.6 million people were watching the network between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, when the golf tournament ended and “60 Minutes” began with its interview with Vick, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
The United Football League announces that HDNet will provide exclusive, broadcast coverage of five of the League’s “Premiere” season games. HDNet will air live weekly games beginning on Saturday, October 10th at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. As previously announced, eight of the UFL’s games will air on VERSUS. The UFL will announce the complete “Premiere” season schedule, television programming and ticket sales information this week.
“Mark Cuban has been a huge supporter of the UFL from the League’s initial announcement and we are thrilled to be partnering with his television network, HDNet, to broadcast five of our games,” said Frank Vuono, COO of the UFL. “In addition to broadcasting our games, HDNet will provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the UFL’s training camps with additional highlight shows. Through this partnership with HDNet and VERSUS, UFL games will be broadcast nationally to nearly 90 million homes fulfilling our mission of bringing more football to more fans.”
“This new venture is exciting news for sports fans and HDNet is proud to partner with the UFL to bring this new league to our viewers,” said Mark Cuban, chairman and co-founder of HDNet. “Fans are hungry for more professional football and we’re thrilled to add the UFL to our great roster of championship sports coverage.”