EXCLUSIVE: In a recent story, I noted that gymnastics, one of the consistently most popular Olympic sports, could be a new hot area in the reality TV space. I can now confirm that CORE Media is developing Celebrity Champions, an original format that will see former Olympians coach celebrities – be they dancers, musicians, actors or athletes – in various disciplines. Those will include bars, floor, rings and vault. Gold medalist Mary Lou Retton is attached as the anchor judge on the project which was brought to CORE by Shauna Thomas, Triana Lavey, and 1996 Olympic team member John Macready. The trio will produce Celebrity Champions with CORE. Other former Olympians attached to participate include Shannon Miller and Paul Hamm. CORE is currently talking to U.S. networks about the project. Sport-themed celebrity reality series have had rough going this year, most recently with the injury-plagued Splash. Of Celebrity Champions, CORE head of U.S. TV, Jen O’Connell, says it will be critical that participants are “physically up for the task.” The plan is to be “smart about casting and put in the proper training time to ensure success, a great performance and lower the potential for injury.”
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