Johnson's shining in the spotlight

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

Jason Johnson has always been fascinated by the media. These days the Edmonton Eskimos' third-string quarterback is taking his first steps toward becoming a media mogul of sorts.

Aided and abetted by a freelance production crew, Johnson is slated to begin shooting a four-part series with the working title ''Arizona All Access'' that will air Saturday nights on Tucson, Arizona's WB 58 in March.

"We'll do off-the-field stuff with current athletes to show what they're like away from the game,'' explained Johnson, who played his college football at the University of Arizona.

"We have a high-profile quarterback recruited and we're going to do a feature on him. We'll highlight the basketball recruits.

"We're going to catch up with some people now playing in the pros like Richard Jefferson on the (New Jersey) Nets and Luke Walton on the (Los Angeles) Lakers.''

Although the show will have a distinctly Arizona sports flavour, it'll also boast Alberta content and be hosted by A-Channel's Christie Chorley. As the driving force behind the series, Johnson, 25, is its executive producer. Titles, however, can be misleading.

On top of being involved in virtually every facet of production, the Tacoma, Washington, native is responsible for rounding up corporate sponsors to ensure he recoups the roughly $15,000 it will cost to produce the show as well as what he'll shell out to buy the television air time.

Given Johnson's profile in Tucson and level of interest in Wildcats sports in the city of 500,000 bereft of a major professional sports franchise, selling the show to advertisers has been a breeze.

"We're finishing up, we already have a bunch of sponsors on board,'' said Johnson.

"Besides the fact I bleed (Arizona) red and blue, the reason I'm doing the show about Arizona sports is - being from here with my connections to the athletes and the business community - this is a place where I could walk in and get people excited about something that I'm involved in who might not otherwise be involved.

"College sports, especially in Tucson, the University of Arizona really is like a professional sports team.''


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