The Contender (TV Series 2005– )

TVSeries


The Contender (TV Series 2005– )

Hosts Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard give 16 young boxing hopefuls a shot at the big time in this Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg reality drama. The Contender will delve into the lives of each of the boxers as they work their way to a million dollar paycheck and a career as a professional boxer.
USA
IMDb  7.5 /10
Creators
Creator Mark Burnett
Information
Release Date2005-03-07
Runtime2h 0mins
GenreAction, Game-Show, Reality-TV, Sport
Content Rating
AwardsNominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination.
CompanyDreamWorks, ESPN (Entertainment & Sports Programming Network), Mark Burnett Productions
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Self - Host / ... 43 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeff Connor
Jeff Connor
Ring Announcer / ... 38 episodes, 2005-2007
Alfonso Gomez Jr.
Alfonso Gomez Jr.
Self - Fighter / ... 32 episodes, 2005-2007
Tommy Gallagher
Tommy Gallagher
Self - Trainer / ... 33 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeremy Williams
Jeremy Williams
Self - Trainer 34 episodes, 2005-2007
Sergio Mora
Sergio Mora
Self - Fighter / ... 34 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeff Fraza
Jeff Fraza
Self - Fighter 27 episodes, 2005-2006
Peter Manfredo Jr.
Peter Manfredo Jr.
Self - Fighter / ... 26 episodes, 2005-2007
Jesse Brinkley
Jesse Brinkley
Self - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Miguel Espino
Miguel Espino
Self - Fighter / ... 17 episodes, 2005-2006
Tarick Salmaci
Tarick Salmaci
Self - Fighter / ... 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Freddy Curiel
Freddy Curiel
Self - Fighter 17 episodes, 2006-2007
Boxing Mentor / ... 16 episodes, 2005
Jackie Kallen
Jackie Kallen
Self - Manager 16 episodes, 2005
Dub Huntley
Dub Huntley
Self - Trainer 16 episodes, 2005
Anthony Bonsante
Anthony Bonsante
Self - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Brent Cooper
Brent Cooper
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Juan de la Rosa
Juan de la Rosa
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Joey Gilbert
Joey Gilbert
Self - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Ahmed Kaddour
Ahmed Kaddour
Self - Fighter 17 episodes, 2005-2007
Jimmy Lange
Jimmy Lange
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Jonathan Reid
Jonathan Reid
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Ishe Smith
Ishe Smith
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Najai Turpin
Najai Turpin
Self - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Jack Reiss
Jack Reiss
Self - Referee / ... 18 episodes, 2006-2009

The Contender (TV series)

The Contender is an American reality television series that initially aired from March 3, 2005 to January 7, 2009 on NBC, ESPN, and Versus and currently airs on Epix. Each season of the series follows a group of boxers as they compete with one another in an elimination-style competition, while their lives and relationships with each other and their families are depicted.

The series was created and executive produced by Mark Burnett. The first three seasons of the show were hosted by Sugar Ray Leonard, who shared hosting duties in the first season with actor Sylvester Stallone. Leonard departed the series after season three and Tony Danza joined as his replacement.

On January 22, 2018, it was announced that the series was being revived by premium cable network Epix for a fifth season which premiered on August 24, 2018.


Premise

The show takes the format of a gameshow, with the boxers divided into two teams based on their place of residence in the United States: East Coast or West Coast (or simply “East” and “West”). These teams live together in group living quarters, in Pasadena, California in the historic Royal Laundry Building on Raymond Avenue, and compete for the right to choose which of their team members fights that week, and who he fights against. Most of the second half of the hour-long episodes are devoted to that fight: the loser is eliminated.


Production

The series’ tagline is “The Next Great Human Drama”, and its soundtrack was scored by Hans Zimmer. Before the show premiered, rival US television Fox network rushed to air a competing show The Next Great Champ, hosted by Oscar De La Hoya. The show performed very poorly, with the final episodes being relegated to cable FSN. In an effort to distance itself from the Fox disaster, NBC opted to hold airing its show until spring 2005.

On May 16, 2005, the series was cancelled. The first season cost NBC $2,000,000 per episode. Reruns were seen on CNBC. On August 11, 2005, ESPN announced that it was picking up the rights to a second season of the show, which began airing on the network in July 2006, although special editions under the Contender title are currently airing as of March, 2006. ESPN also announced that it has options to renew the series for two additional seasons. However, on April 10, 2008, ESPN announced that it was canceling the series. Executive producer Jeff Wald maintained that the show would continue on another network. It was later announced the show would move to Versus.

Najai Turpin suicide

On February 14, 2005, one of the 16 contenders, Najai Turpin, despondent over personal matters, committed suicide, shooting himself while sitting with his girlfriend in a parked car outside the West Philadelphia gym where he trained. In his memory, the producers set up a trust fund for his daughter Anyae. The show still aired in its entirety, but with a special tribute to Turpin.


Seasons

SeasonNetworkAirdatePresenterTrainersWinnerRunner Up
1NBCMarch 7 – May 24, 2005Sylvester Stallone
Sugar Ray Leonard
Tommy Gallagher
Jeremy Williams
Dub Huntley
Sergio Mora
“The Latin Snake”
Peter Manfredo Jr.
“The Pride of Providence”
2ESPNJuly 18 – September 26, 2006Sugar Ray LeonardTommy Gallagher
Jeremy Williams
Grady Brewer
“Bad Boy”
Steve Forbes
"2 Pound”
3September 4 – November 6, 2007Buddy McGirt
Pepe Correa
Carlos Vargas
Romnick Dongiapon
Sakio Bika
“The Scorpion”
Jaidon Codrington
“The Don”
4VersusDecember 3, 2008 – January 7, 2009Tony DanzaTommy Brooks
John Bray
Troy Ross
“The Boss”
Ehinomen Ehikhamenor
“Hino”
5EpixAugust 24 – November 9, 2018Andre WardFreddie Roach
Naazim Richardson
Brandon AdamsShane Mosley, Jr

Broadcast

The show ran for fifteen weeks through 2005 on NBC in the United States of America. The show ran in the UK on ITV2 and was repeated later in the week on ITV, and now airs on ITV4. It also aired on AXN in India, and on the Spanish language network Telemundo. The second season, featuring welterweight contenders, premiered in the U.S. on Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at 10 pm ET/PT, on ESPN. The third season, featuring super middleweight contenders, premiered in the U.S. on Tuesday, September 4, 2007, at 10 pm ET/PT, on ESPN. The fourth season, featuring cruiserweight contenders, premiered in the U.S. on Wednesday, December 3, 2008, at 10 pm ET/PT, on Versus. A fifth season produced by Mark Burnett and hosted by Andre Ward aired on Epix in 2018.


International versions

CountryTitleBroadcasterPresentersOriginal runTrainers
AsiaThe Contender AsiaAXNStephan Fox & Jaymee OngJanuary 16, 2008 – April 23, 2008
AustraliaThe Contender AustraliaFox8Charlotte Dawson & Daniel Amalm3 November 2009Billy Hussien (Blue Team) & Paul Briggs (Gold Team)