EXCLUSIVE: Shaquille O’Neal has struck a deal with 50 Central producer Back Roads Entertainment to develop scripted and non-scripted TV series.
The four-time NBA Champion, who played for six teams including Orlando Magic and LA Lakers across his 19-year career, and partner Michael Parris are looking to create, develop and produce shows via a co-production deal with Back Roads and their production company Jersey Legends.
Shaq’s initial focus will be on gameshows, comedy and family entertainment for U.S. and international broadcasters. O’Neal, Parris and the Jersey Legends team will work closely with Colby Gaines, executive producer and founder of Back Roads, as well as a new development team assigned to the partnership. O’Neal, Parris and Gaines will serve as executive producers on all projects.
Cable network TNT recently ordered docuseries Shaq Life and he has previously fronted ABC reality series including Shaq’s Big Challenge and Shaq Vs. Parris has been O’Neal’s business partner for over 20 years and has overseen the Shaq brand since 1998 and produced projects including Shaq Vs. Shaquille O’Neal Presents comedy franchise and Foster Boy.
It is the latest high-profile deal this month for Back Roads; the company, which is behind BET’s 50 Cent show 50 Central as well as MTV’s Joking Off and Cooking Channel’s Big Bad BBQ Brawl, recently partnered with Wendy Williams on a comedy special.
“I’m happy to be teaming up with Back Roads Entertainment,” said O’Neal. “This partnership is big and that’s how I like to do things…big. Get ready for some incredible content.”
Parris added, “My philosophy about partnerships is simple; how likely are we to be successful together in both the business and the relationship. I’m convinced that we have found that with Back Roads Entertainment.”
“Shaquille O’Neal is a legendary athlete, successful entrepreneur, global personality and cultural icon,” said Colby Gaines, executive producer and founder of Back Roads Entertainment. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to target his interests, marry them with our stock of game, comedy and family programming, and be the dedicated production house for all things Jersey Legends.”