If the rumor mill is correct, former New York Giants great Michael Strahan is poised to blitz the chair and sack the coffee mug that once belonged to Regis Philbin. That should give some hope to other professional athletes with talk-show aspirations. Here are five other athletes we’d like to see make a similar leap to the small screen.
Athlete: Clinton Portis
Show: "The Handoff"
Concept: The recently retired Portis is an ideal host. As a player, he proved he wasn’t afraid of cameras -- and neither were his alter egos. CP would start off the show as himself, but each subsequent guest would face Dolla Bill, or Dolemite Jenkins, or Prime Minister Yah Mon, or Southeast Jerome or
Dream guest: Sacha Baron Cohen. Imagine Ali G being interviewed by Choo Choo and you’ll know why we think this is ratings gold.
Athlete: Peyton Manning
Show: "The Peyton Show" (starring, written by and executive-produced by Peyton Manning)
Concept: When Manning retires, he’ll be itching to do something on Sundays. So he’s perfect for a Sunday morning political show in which he grills the big names on Capitol Hill. The twist: He’s got a two-minute drill (with one timeout) to finish each interview.
Dream guest: President Obama, who has already given Peyton the POTUS co-sign.
Athlete: A.J. Pierzynski
Show: "Chin Music"
Concept: The wrestling fanatic and baseball catcher was voted the most hated player in the major leagues in a 2012 survey. So he’ll enjoy playing the “heel” roll: Pierzynski will have each guest join him in a cage match in which he’ll try to out-insult his guests. The audience declares the winner.
Dream guest: His former manager Ozzie Guillen for a three-round, no-holds-barred match of the century.
Athlete: Metta World Peace
Show: "That’s So Metta"
Concept: One week, it’s a talk show. The next, it’s sketch comedy. The following week? A rap concert. With Metta, you never know what you’re getting.
Dream guest: Ron Artest. After all, he’s already proven he’s great at interviewing himself.
Athlete: Rex Ryan
Show: "The Joy of Rex"
Concept: OK, so the Jets coach isn’t technically an athlete. But between his star turn on "Hard Knocks" and newfound acting cred (what a natural!), he’s perfect for a Bill Maher-esque roundtable show in which he’s allowed to say what’s on his mind without being worried about getting bleeped. Are you listening, HBO?
Dream guest: His twin brother Rob. Imagine the stories they would tell.