Written by Tim Hoffman Tuesday, 14 April 2009 14:13
The series premiere of SportsCenter: Los Angeles debuted yesterday to huge ratings and critical acclaim. Launching a new spinoff series based on the most popular sports highlights show was seen as a no brainer by television insiders. But will the new version have the same appeal as the classic?
Producers hope to get big ratings early with the casting of big names to anchor the program like character actors Matt Damon and Gary Oldman, instead of people who are actually knowledgeable about sports.
"Well, I don't know much about sports in general," said Oldman when asked about what he will bring to the show. "But I am a big British soccer fan. That is probably most of what you guys cover over here, so I imagine I'll be just fine."
Producers say the spinoff will have a darker edge than the original, and be much sexier. Matt Damon's SportsCenter anchor will read the news wrecklessly, and not by the books. Will the tension between him and the supermodel sideline reporter boil over into a passionate affair? Also dealt with will be Oldman's fighting of a drug addiction that is tearing apart his relationship with his wife, played by Susan Sarandon. The anchors will also solve a muder over the course of each program, involving witty banter and forensic analysis.
It is unknown at this point how the new series will fare, but there is a good buzz around the new harder edge. The scene from the premiere where Damon is fighting a meth dealer who may have killed his own mother, all the while calling the highlights from the Royals-Brewers game, got rave reviews from critics.