'Shaq Vs.' to launch on Aug. 18
ABC is getting back into business with Shaquille O’Neal, picking up the new reality competish “Shaq Vs.”Show, which launches Aug. 18 at 9 p.m., follows O’Neal as he competes against star athletes such as Olympic champ Michael Phelps in swimming and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football. Media Rights Capital is behind the series, along with Dick Clark Prods. Alphabet has picked up five episodes of the hourlong show, with the possibility of a sixth. O’Neal is currently talking to Lance Armstrong about participating in an extra episode. “Shaq Vs.” is being turned around quickly: The show will start production this Wednesday. ABC previously partnered with O’Neal on the 2007 summer reality series “Shaq’s Big Challenge,” in which the basketball star coached overweight kids on how to develop a healthier lifestyle. That show didn’t make much noise, however, and didn’t return for another cycle. This time around, “Shaq Vs.” will follow O’Neal and his weekly competitor as they go through the training process — and even hold a press conference before the big day. O’Neal will train for a week leading up to each challenge; to keep the playing field level, he’ll also negotiate a handicap with each opponent. Other athletes facing off with O’Neal include tennis champ Serena Williams; boxer Oscar de la Hoya; baseball star Albert Pujols; and Olympic volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor. O’Neal will exec produce, along with Scott Messick, Perry Rogers and Dick Clark Prods.’ Orly Adelson, Will Staeger and Barry Adelman.