It's premiere week over at The Golf Channel, and they're rolling out a pair of new series designed to show you that TGC is about more than just Thursday-afternoon rounds from various tournament locales.
Leading the charge is "Being John Daly," a show that's sparked mild controversy from its very announcement. But then, everything Daly does spurs controversy, so this should come as no surprise. The show, which began taping last summer, follows Daly in his quest to reclaim either his PGA Tour dominance or his dignity, or one of the two.
The show initially sparked when Daly's agents approached The Golf Channel, and negotiations proceeded swiftly. "People relate to him, for whatever reasons," says Tom Stathakes, Golf Channel Senior VP of Programming, Production and Operations. "We thought a comeback story would be a good idea."
The series breakdown will be about one-third golf and two-thirds off-course events, including Daly's lap-band surgery and other requisite Daly strangeness. The show is still shooting, and will wrap in April with a live interview show.
"He's given us unprecedented access," Stathakes says. "We're with him all the time, unless he's sleeping or taking a bath." And thank heaven for that.
Stathakes emphasizes that this isn't a Daly freak show, although it's going to have its moments of insanity: "He's trying, really trying, to get his act together. I think people will be surprised at how hard he's trying. He's flighty, maybe borderline nuts ... but I think people will find it really compelling."
The series kicks off Tuesday night on The Golf Channel. Below, a little sample video of our boy Big John:
Oh, but that's not all. On Monday night, Season 2 of The Haney Project kicks off, this time starring Ray Romano of "Everybody Loves Raymond"/"Men of a Certain Age" fame. Now, Ray's got quite the pair of skittering shoes to fill, since the inimitable Charles Barkley, he of the squirrel-bashing swing, was the focus of Haney's first round of teaching.
And while Romano isn't quite as flat-out insane as Charles, he's still going to be a bit more interesting than your average everyday executive trying to learn to golf. "He's like all of us -- not as good as he thinks, but he's not bad," Stathakes says.
It's all part of Golf Channel's strategy to expand its reach beyond just tournament coverage. (And, it must be noted, a reliance on star power like Tiger Woods, considering how the last few months have gone.) On the immediate horizon is "Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story," based on the John Feinstein book about Tom Watson's caddy, to premiere during the U.S. Open. Down the line, there could be original movies, documentaries, future seasons of The Haney Project (one name under consideration: Larry David), future Daly-esque reality shows (Bubba Watson would be my pick) and more.
For more on both the Daly and Romano shows, click here, and by all means, leave your reviews of both in the comments below.