Talk about great timing — Reelz said today it has bought TMZ Hollywood Sports to anchor its weekday primetime lineup, at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, starting Monday, September 29.
Reelz called the newly created program “one of the freshest, most respected and energizing journalism brands in the country.” Everyone else is calling it the prettiest dress in the TV News store since TMZ got its hands on the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice clocking his then fiancee in a casino elevator back in February. That came on the heels of another TMZ sports “get” — the audio of Donald Sterling’s racist conversation with his girlfriend. “This is sports without scores … and the highlights are what happen when athletes and celebrity culture collide off the field,” Reelz said in today’s announcement.
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“This is an especially exciting venture for us because we think we can attract sports fans who love athletes and non-sports fans who are interested in athletes who have become some of the biggest celebrities in the world,” Harvey Levin said today.
Executive producer Evan Rosenblum also will host the trademark TMZ “ensemble,” discussing athletes’ dating lives, cars, homes, toys, jewelry, social media gaffes, endorsement deals and general bad behavior.
TMZ Sports was launched as a website in June 2013 and was developed into a show that has aired in select Fox markets since January — including KTTV LA, WTTG DC, WJZY Charlotte, KUTP Phoenix, KRIV Houston, WAGA Atlanta, and WFXT Boston — as a separate brand/show. Reelz wanted to have the show exclusively, and producers agreed to change the name (read “add Hollywood“) to bring it in line with Reelz’s “Hollywood” brand. The deal was in the works before the Rice video went viral. In theory, the new franchise further strengthens the TMZ brand, which is good for Fox, an important stakeholder in TMZ on TV and TMZ Live, and other syndicated extensions of the brand.
“TMZ Hollywood Sports is a natural extension of Reelz’s Hollywood Happens Here brand,” crowed Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of Reelz, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, NM. Reelz reaches 70 million homes.
“TMZ is an amazing partner for Reelz and, together, we will deliver a fast-paced, hard-hitting and fun look at a collision of worlds where sports…meets celebrity meets Hollywood,” Hubbard said.
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