Sunday, May 24, 2009
Online Poker Reality Show To Air on G4...Scandal?
Another Online Poker Media Scandal?
It's to be called: 2 Months, $2 Million
It's to air in August on the cable and satellite channel G4.
So, is this nothing more than an inside online poker cheat scandal, or will the players really be playing for keeps? The whole thing is reminiscent of the 2006 Fox Sports Net poker tournament that hyped six players playing a $60 million freezeout, each with $10 million of his own money. Of course, that never came to be and was really a major bullshit hype to fatten the bankrolls and increase the exposure of in-vogue professional poker players. Fox Sports Net (with my help) realized that even the poker-crazed public wasn't going to buy it, so they axed it.
Now we get another huge attempt to glorify poker, this time online poker, in the mass media and entertainment field. In August, cable station G4 will debut a brand new reality series following four online poker players trying to earn $2 million collectively in just two months. The show is appropriately called “2 Months, $2 Million” and will consist of 10 half-hour episodes.
Park Slope Productions brought “2 Months, $2 Million” to G4 executives. Laura Civiello, Vice President of Development for G4, told Poker News Daily about the network’s decision to green light the series: “There was something there that represented a lifestyle our audience is fascinated with. Every young guy wishes they could have this lifestyle, so it was very appealing to men ages 18 to 34, which is the majority of our demographic.” Filming is set to commence next week and the show will begin airing in August.
The group of four players who will vie to earn $2 million consists of Jason “pr1nnyraid” Rosenkrantz, Brian “Flawless_Victory” Roberts, Emil “whitelime” Patel, and Dani “Ansky” Stern. The latter final tabled the competitive PokerStars Super Tuesday in March and won the $30,000 Super Turbo Guaranteed in April. The two finishes were worth a combined $22,000. Patel nearly made the final table of a $5,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed contest during the 2007 World Series of Poker, landing in eighth place for $83,000 in an event ultimately won by Bill Edler. Patel and Rosenkrantz are friends and recruited Roberts and Stern to join forces for the upcoming G4 show.
The four contestants will be wagering their own money, which Civiello believes adds an important dimension to the show: “It’s a huge challenge. That’s part of the fun of the show, watching them go on this incredible journey. For our audience, both the stakes and the lifestyle are the whole package. You want to come back to see if they win or lose.” The online poker world watched as the Bluff Poker Challenge played out in March on Lock Poker. The competition asked players to turn $200 into as much money as possible over the course of one month. In the end, Brian “SNo0oWMAN” Hawkins won, generating $25,000. In the G4 competition, each of the four players will need to earn an average of $500,000 over two months in order to reach their collective goal.
G4 held focus groups of its viewers to gauge interest in airing “2 Months, $2 Million.” Civiello explained that the “high risk, high reward” component of online poker was one of the leading drivers of its popularity among men ages 18 to 34. G4 penetrates into 65 million households nationwide, where it airs on varying tiers of cable service. Civiello explained, “We’re definitely aiming at the guys who are plugged in. This is the first generation that has grown up with the internet. It’s changed the way they’ve socialized. Culturally, it gives them a new way of looking at things.” G4 is owned by Comcast, which also manages E!, The Style Network, and FEARnet. Comcast is based on Los Angeles and provides telephone service, cable television, and high-speed internet.
Executives at G4 discussed the legal ramifications of airing a show surrounding online poker prior to giving it the go-ahead to film next week. Despite murky laws like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) on the books, Civiello told Poker News Daily that the topic was well-researched: “We vetted the concept through our legal department because there is a lot of confusion around this. You have people introducing legislation to completely ban online poker and you have people introducing legislation to allow it. It’s something we looked into.” The G4 venture will mark one of the first times that online poker has ever been featured on television. One of the most recent occurrences was in November, when CBS News program “60 Minutes” investigated the scandals on Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker.
Other new shows in the works from G4 include “Web Soup,” a spin-off of the popular E! series “The Soup.” The show will chronicle viral videos and humorous web happenings each week. It’s hosted by Chris Hardwick and premieres June 7th. G4 is also planning a clip show about “sexy women around the world,” according to Civiello. Viewers can expect to see everything from Lithuanian honey wrestling to a wild Italian beauty pageant.
Be sure to tune into G4 in August for the debut of “2 Months, $2 Million.”
Well, I will surely tune in once or twice for sure, and you should probably, too. I will have more to say on this show once I see it. Remember, my take on the show "High Stakes Poker" on the Game Show Network was that it was all bullshit and nobody was really losing any money. Hope this will be different, but I kind of doubt it.