The Watchman: Strahan Teams With Tom Brady, Peak TV Goes Beyond Gold
Much has been made of Michael Strahan’s smooth transition from Hall of Fame NFL defensive end to Good Morning America talent, but let’s for a moment take note of his producer skills, too. After all, who else has two series premiering Nov. 15? Auto enthusiast show Tackle My Ride debuts on NFL Network, while docuseries Religion of Sports bows on Audience Network.
What does Religion of Sports offer that HBO’s Real Sports and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series don’t? “We dig a little bit deeper into the story about the athlete,” says Big Mike. “It’s about the athlete, the venue, the culture. It explores when the sport itself goes beyond entertainment and becomes, for some people, a religious experience.”
Strahan’s fellow producers on Religion are Gotham Chopra, son of Deepak, and Tom Brady. Yes, that same Tom Brady that Strahan used to try to drive into the turf. “He brings the same level of commitment, hard work and passion he shows on the field to this project,” Strahan says of the Patriots QB.
Also cued up for Nov. 15 is TNT’s Good Behavior. Think you’re getting stuff done these days? Cocreator Chad Hodge also has a musical called Holiday Inn on Broadway and wrote the screenplay for the upcoming film The Darkest Minds. Hodge says live productions offer something special. “There’s nothing like standing in the back of the theater, watching something you wrote as thousands of people respond to it live,” he says. “You never get that experience in television.”
Still, it’s a pretty good time to be working in TV. Critic David Bianculli set out to capture the modern television era in his book The Platinum Age of Television: From ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘The Walking Dead’, How TV Became Terrific. Besides detailing the most influential series over the years, Bianculli profiles the key individuals in this revolution, including Matt Groening, Larry David, Carol Burnett and Norman Lear.
So is this indeed the greatest era in television? “I should be one of those get-off-mylawn, the-old-days-were-thebest kinds of guys,” says Bianculli. “I can do that with rock music, but not with television. There’s no getting around it—this is the greatest time in television.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.