For the first time in, like, ever, athletes are clamoring for a shot to square off with a surly sports-talk radio host. Well, a fictional one, anyway, played by Matthew Perry in “Go On,” the new NBC sitcom premiering Sept. 11. The series is primed to take the baton from “Entourage” as the go-to destination for athletes who are looking for easy, come-as-you-are cameos.
“It not only seemed like a cool, new comedy, but Matthew plays a sports radio personality, so it fits well,” explains Heat forward Chris Bosh, who appears in the Oct. 30 episode. “A sports setting is a great setup for athletes who want to be in front of the camera a little bit and take advantage of their opportunities.”
The guest-star lineup leads off with Terrell Owens’ appearance in the series premiere. The currently unemployed wideout gets in a scuffle with Perry’s Ryan King after fielding considerable verbal abuse, including this zinger: "What, you want to hit me? Be careful, you might get kicked out of The Indoor Bunny Rabbit League!"
“I told everybody, ‘I’m not saying that line unless, like, five people tell me it’s OK,’” says Perry, who developed his character with help from Rich Eisen, Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd. “Sorry, but attacking Terrell Owens goes against all of my base instincts.”
Luckily for the former “Friends” star, Owens was game. Ditto Bosh, who fields King’s trash talk during an indoor hoops game, then punctuates a swat with his signature deadpan.
“Matthew is good at what he does, and some of the things he was doing caught me off guard,” Bosh says. “I was just trying to keep from laughing.”
Also in the can: cameos by Bob Costas and retired NHLer Jeremy Roenick. Down the road, you may see Usain Bolt and David Beckham visit "The Ryan King Show." The former’s reps heard about the hubbub and reached out; Perry personally pitched Beckham during a party held at the actor’s home.
“I’m shameless. I’ll approach anybody, anywhere,” Perry kids, adding that he hopes to net his pal Jimmy Connors as well as members of his favorite team, the Dodgers. “I now have a built-in reason to meet some of my heroes. I think, with this show, we’re just trying to make my dreams come true. That’s cool — I’ll take it.”
Elsewhere at the nexus of sports and entertainment:
On sale now: “A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball,” a revealing tome by Heat star Dwyane Wade, who writes of his journey from a rough childhood in Chicago to fatherhood and a failed marriage.
“I’ve gone through a lot, from being young and having a mother who’s addicted to drugs and in and out of jail, to my divorce and having kids of my own,” Wade says. “I felt like sharing this could maybe help kids who are going through similar things and families who are going through divorce right now.”
Today, Wade is a full-time father to two boys after fighting for and, ultimately, winning sole custody of his kids, a bold and virtually unheard-of legal maneuver for an active pro jock. How did Wade know he could handle the roles of baller and single dad?
“See, you don’t know if you can handle it,” Wade says. “All you know is you love your kids more than anything, and you want to make sure they have the life they deserve, and that they’re in the right setting and mind-set to be successful. I felt that, in my household, they could have those things.”
Louisville-bred hip-hop artist Buffalo Stille of Nappy Roots is supporting his beloved University of Louisville football squad (currently 2-0 and ranked No. 23) with a clothing line of fan apparel – officially licensed through Cardinals athletics – as well as two fight songs. One, “L1C4,” is available on iTunes and played before the team’s home victory over Kentucky. The other, “#REDPLAGUE,” performed with fellow Louisville native Audio Stepchild, hasn’t been heard – until now. You can listen to or download “#REDPLAGUE” below, exclusively, courtesy of JHP/Hoopla Worldwide. And what’s with ominous, tweet-ready title? “Because any team that plays us this year is gonna be sick by the end of game,” Stille says. “The #REDPLAGUE is dangerous, without a cure, and its coming after every team in college football.”
Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival Saturday night to rave reviews: “Silver Linings Playbook,” a Philly-set dramedy about an Eagles-obsessed family starring Robert De Niro as a wannabe-bookie and Bradley Cooper as his troubled son.
With consent from the NFL, the film prominently features the Angry Birds and their rivals: a pivotal scene takes place at an Eagles-Giants game, the Cowboys play a role in the climax and DeSean Jackson’s jersey serves as a running gag.
I’ll have more on this movie later, but for now: another delightfully odd, Oscar-worthy effort from writer-director David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “Flirting with Disaster”), helped by a knockout performance from Cooper and De Niro’s best turn in years.
For Eagles fans, though, it’s bittersweet: the film is set in the days of Donovan McNabb. And, ya know, playoff wins.