Documenting draft process

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:55 AM ET

Broadcasting sporting events has long been the genuine article when it comes to reality TV.

The Score's Super Agent has taken the concept one step further. Instead of following USC football star Shaun Cody through practices and games, the program focuses on the process of picking a representative as Cody entered the NFL draft.

Coming hot on the heels of NBC's The Contender -- in which 16 boxers fought it out in a tournament to be crowned king -- Super Agent could be the first program to create a sports business situation and follow it through to document it.

In the eight-episode series, nine agents scheme, backstab and connive their way to become Cody's choice, all the while trying to make sure the All-American defensive lineman doesn't sour on their personality.

The Score jumped at the chance to pick up Super Agent, which is also airing on Spike TV, because vice-president of programming and production Anthony Cicione knew a good thing when he saw it.

"You always want a behind-the-scenes look at how things work," Cicione said.

"We report the highlights, report the scores and do some features on the athletes but we never see what they go through trying to select who will best represent them and maximize their playing career.

"It's kind of got some sizzle, while, at the same time, it shows what the process is really like."

Super Agent creator Jack Bechta came up with the idea when he saw Jerry Maguire eight years ago and built the show in a reality formula -- the agents have tasks to perform, such as teaming up in pairs of threes to learn what NFL scouts think of Cody while he played in the Senior Bowl. And Cody has stuck with the winner after being drafted by the Detroit Lions.

While The Score was 24/7 highlights, scores and analysis a short time ago before picking up poker and Stump the Schwab, Cicione would like to see a series of agent shows because the program still provides enough info to be considered 'news.'

Although The Contender didn't make it to a second season, Cicione is happy with the viewership Super Agent has drawn in its short run.

"It's eight weeks, with a little bit of reality and some documentary," Cicione said. "It's a nice little show. It's in the sports vein. I hoping down the road they will do Super Agent Hockey, Super Agent Baseball. I'm hoping that it will turn into that type of stripe.

"I hope we can get more shows for down the road, especially for the summertime. There's only football, baseball and golf during the summer. It's good timing for it."

WEEKEND HIGHLIGHT

Most of the big names are not there but the world track and field championships from Helsinki should hold plenty of intrigue for Canadians. Hurdler Perdita Felicien will run heats Tuesday and the final Thursday, where she will try to put Athens behind her. CBC will have all the action with host Ron MacLean, play-by-play man Don Wittman and analysts Michael Smith and Steve Ovett:

* Tomorrow, 10 a.m., Sunday, noon, Monday to Thursday, 8 p.m.

CLASSIC REPLAYS

Two weeks ago when the Roughriders took on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Regina, fans in the province thought the blackout was lifted as the game started. But Lui Passaglia kicked off and hundreds of fans turned off the TV. To get them over this disappointment, ESPN Classic is playing Lui's last regular-season game, from Nov. 4, 2000, which was also against the Roughriders:

* Tomorrow, noon

YOU JUST HAD TO SEE IT

Rafael Palmeiro has given Jose Canseco something no one would have predicted: A shred of credibility. It was only a few months ago everyone Canseco named in his book about steriods and baseball was calling the former slugger a fraud. When Palmeiro tested positive for steriods this week, Canseco was a must-have for talk shows across the U.S. On The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Canseco -- with his lawyer on a split screen -- went as far as to say Palmeiro could have been set up but also announced he would eventually do another book. Deutsch asked Canseco for a few other names of users, to which he refused. Just have to wait for the book.


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