‘Champ’ jabs back

Fox producers say probe won't shutter show

The producers of Fox’s new boxing reality skein “The Next Great Champ” headlining Oscar De La Hoya denied Thursday that an investigation by the California State Athletic Commission is in danger of shutting down the show.

Goldenboy Enterprises CEO Richard Schaefer, speaking at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, said there are two issues — payment of officials and television taxes — that the commission is looking at with regard to boxing matches set up for the show. A CSAC hearing is set for Wednesday.

Solid track record

Schaefer said Goldenboy is the biggest promoter of boxing matches in California and enjoys a solid track record with the commission; he added that he expects a favorable resolution. Goldenboy, the company set up by De La Hoya, is producing “Champ” with Endemol USA, producer of such reality skeins as NBC’s “Fear Factor.”

Earlier this week, the Peacock –which is getting ready to air its own unscripted boxing series — alluded to the commission’s inquiry after accusing Fox of blatantly ripping off the idea for the show. NBC’s “The Contender” is exec produced by reality mogul Mark Burnett and DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, both of whom are fuming over “Champ.”

September bow

Fox is set to bow the skein in September, beating “Contender” into the ring by two months, unless NBC can push up the production sked, which seems unlikely.

Endemol USA prexy David Goldberg said production of “Champ” has been entirely above board and suggested it was Burnett and Katzenberg who are instigating trouble.

“They are the ones who seem to want to make it a battle of the airwaves,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg said his relationship with NBC Entertainment, News & Cable prexy Jeff Zucker hasn’t been strained by the controversy over “Champ.”

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