NEW YORK – Fox is lacing up its gloves for a new reality show about boxing, with champ Oscar De La Hoya (search) as its host.
"The Next Great Champ" (search) will seek out young boxers and follow them as they train and fight each other. The winner gets a possible shot at a titleholder and a professional contract with De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
This is the second boxing reality show to be put into development this year and - at least on paper - sounds very similar to the first, which is slated to debut next season on NBC.
And while both on-air slug-fests have the potential to draw huge ratings, the behind-the-scenes battle brewing between the rival projects' producers may be even uglier.
The NBC show, called "The Contender," (search) features Sylvester Stallone (search), Sugar Ray Leonard and George Forman (search). It's produced by "Apprentice" creator Mark Burnett (search) who, along with co-producer Jeffery Katzenberg, is concerned about the new Fox show since a detailed pitch for "The Contender" was offered to De La Hoya months ago.
"We obviously can't have a monopoly on boxing, but clearly ours was the first use of boxing as a backdrop to an unscripted drama of this type," Burnett told Daily Variety.
Fox officials declined to comment yesterday.
"The Next Great Champ" is reportedly being fast-tracked onto television, according to reports, in an attempt to beat "The Contender" to the punch.
De La Hoya reportedly turned down an offer to participate in "Contender," earlier this year. At the time, his reps told Katzenberg and Burnett that the boxer wasn't interested in working in reality television.
"The Next Great Champ" will be produced by Endemol, the company behind "Big Brother."