Deion Sanders is returning to reality TV -- will his trademark bandana make a cameo? (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
"Prime Time" isn't coming to prime time, but he is getting his own TV show.
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has ordered a reality show starring Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders -- appropriately titled It's Prime Time -- which will premier in 2014. The show will feature the trials and tribulations in Deion's "crazy and chaotic" household, which includes his five children as well as Deion's mother, her foster children and his aunt and uncle. OWN's press release further notes that Sanders "plays the role of father, leader, bread-winner, coach and teacher for everyone around him."
This is not Deion's first reality rodeo; in 2008, he and his now-ex-wife Pilar (who accused the former NFL star of spousal abuse this past April) starred in Prime Time Love on Oxygen. As the New York Times discussed, classifying the series as "reality" may have been a bit of a stretch:
To be on board with “Prime Time Love,” you’ve got to excuse a lot, as the show rests on the highly implausible premise that the Sanderses don’t employ help. If true, this would be more impressive than Mr. Sanders’s N.F.L. record for touchdown returns. Some years ago, when he was sued by a car repair shop for failing to pay a bill in full, housekeepers who blocked his car from being towed were cited in the news coverage. Presumably these loyal housekeepers haven’t been expunged.
The Times wasn't the only one to call out Sanders' reality TV show for lacking too much... well, reality. Brian Lowry of Variety called the show, "a bad reality-based sitcom, complete with Looney Tunes-type music and carefully scripted situations."
The irony of family-based reality TV shows is that being genuinely "real" would likely be boring, but concocting cute encounters to spice things up only makes the entire exercise seem contrived and fake.
Though the show's premiere "set records" for the Oxygen network, it only lasted one season; will its quasi-sequel have greater staying power?