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TV Review: ‘The Moment,’ ‘Deep South Paranormal’

The Moment” is a good idea, stretched rather uncomfortably and beyond its weight to fill an hour. People who abandoned careers in exciting fields — in the first two episodes, sports photography and NASCAR driving — are given second chances to see if they can live out their dreams. It’s an appealing notion for those who embrace the lyric that life is what happens while you’re making other plans, though the show doesn’t quite possess the necessary heft to pull off the conceit. Indeed, this USA network reality show can’t sustain what in hindsight feels more like a recurring newsmagazine featurette.

As a consequence, the premise must be padded, challenges concocted, and drama stoked. And while none of that’s unusual for the genre (think of how the situation gets milked in something like “Undercover Boss”), in this context, it still makes for a slow shuffle toward the finish line, as opposed to a triumphant race across it.

Former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner — who got his own second chance, having been plucked from the obscurity of the Arena Football League — is a logical choice on paper to host, but despite leading-man looks and a genial manner doesn’t bring much personality to the proceedings. The premiere, in which a mother auditions to work for Sports Illustrated, does provide insight into what makes a good sports photographer, but the run-up to a yea-or-nay decision grows flabby, and the tedium is even more pronounced in the second hour.

To its credit, “The Moment” doesn’t promise participants success, merely a shot at grabbing the brass ring — a concept to which many can no doubt relate.

That said, it’s hard to escape a sense that in a slightly earlier era, this sort of enterprise would have been offered as Saturday-afternoon syndicated filler as opposed to a ready-for-primetime player.

In that regard, “The Moment” demonstrates a fact to which Warner can no doubt attest: Just because you have the desire doesn’t mean you’re necessarily good enough to make the cut.

Meanwhile, sister NBCUniversal cabler Syfy offers the mashup title “Deep South Paranormal,” an almost pathetically obvious attempt to breed “Ghost Hunters” with “Duck Dynasty”/”Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” and scare up some good-ol’-boy ratings in the process.

“Down in the South, they do things a little different,” the narrator, Keith, explains near the outset, “and the same applies when it comes to huntin’ ghosts.”

Oh puh-leeze. Unless you count the ZZ Top beards, this is the same night-vision photography shtick, as the Scooby gang investigates an allegedly haunted old mill in Louisiana.

“I think we’re onto something, Bubba,” Keith says, thinking they’ve encountered an apparition. Maybe, but given how often the music swells in response to pretty much nothing, we’re certainly onto you.

OK, so reality TV’s redneck wave (recently detailed in a good Los Angeles Times piece) hasn’t crested yet, but the attempts to cash in are becoming more ridiculous. In terms of upside, though, there are an awful lot of dead Hatfields and McCoys out there who met violent ends. So knock yourself out pannin’ for that Nielsen gold, Jethro — er, Keith.

The Moment

(Series; USA, Thurs. April 11, 10 p.m.)

Host: Kurt Warner.

Produced by THE Company. Executive producers, Charlie Ebersol, Justin Hochberg, Richard Hall; co-executive producers, Ryan Simpkins, Gia Galligani, Andy Scheer. 60 MIN.

Deep South Paranormal

(Series; Syfy, Wed. April 10, 10 p.m.)

Produced by BASE Prods. Executive producers, John Brenkus, Mickey Stern. 60 MIN.

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