The Monday night reality show lineup has a new contender vying for our attention. VH1 premiered The T.O. Show starring Buffalo Bills wide receiver, Terrell Owens. In addition to Owens, the reality show features his bodyguard, Pablo Cosby, and his publicists, Kita Williams and Monique Jackson. The relationship between the cast members extends beyond business into a cohesive yet slightly dysfunctional friendship. In pre-show press, Williams said the T.O. Show would give “a lot more than a glimpse into the life of a wealthy professional athlete.” Jackson added that Owens is “human. He has feelings. He has a life story. There are all these layers that you don’t understand, and all you see is this crazy body with phenomenal athletic abilities and this character.” Jesse Ignjatovic, the show’s producer, “was impressed by how much Owens allowed crews to film. He says he was surprised by “the depth that he was willing to go to in the show emotionally”. Likewise in his memoirs, Terrell Owens comes across authentic with nothing to hide. No doubt the show will be no different.
The show begins with Owens sitting on a couch watching ESPN report that he’s been cut from the Dallas Cowboys. Amazingly and contrary to his various on-field and sideline outbursts, Terrell is subdued and unemotional. As he commiserates with Pablo, Owens recounts the meeting with Jerry Jones. “I’m for ya,” say Jones. Then he adds, “We gotta parts ways.” Terrell kept a souvenir from the meeting — a white tablecloth Jones doodled on while firing him. Owens was told by Jones that he would finish his career as a Dallas Cowboy. He’s blindsided and hurt by the betrayal.
Enter TEAM Image. Owens’ “guardian angels” are summoned. The women arrive to find Owens and Pablo in a major funk. Their masterplan requires Owens to spend his off-season in Los Angeles where he can work on his image and contemplate life after football. The two ladies came across as lacking faith that their friend and client would rebound quickly. It was surprising and disturbing. Hopefully, the editing is at fault. T.O. agrees to mull their plan over but obviously had plans of his own simmering. The next day he returns with a one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills. Apparently, a talented player, no matter the reputation, is not down for long.
Owens accepts TEAM Image’s advice and moves to L.A. The audience gets to see Terrell enjoying the night life. His exquisitely beautiful ex-fiancée, Felicia, is introduced. One wonders why he wastes time with party girls when such a high caliber lady is available. After a push from Williams and Jackson, Owens calls Felicia to clear the air and reconnect. The two agree to meet for dinner to catch up. Owens arrives for the date with flowers and a gift in hand. Felicia quizzes Terrell about his love life. He dances a jig around the issue. His infidelity broke up their engagement. If Owens loves his ex as much he professes, he needs to get his itch satisfied because Felicia will not be single for long.
Next Week’s Preview
In the preview for the second episode, we eavesdrop on a conversation between Owens and his deadbeat dad. In his first autobiography, Catch This, Terrell reveals that through a chance situation he discovered that he shared the same father with the girl he’s passionate about that lives across the street. He had been told for the eleven years of his life that his father was dead. In the preview clip, Terrell’s father says, “I was a good father.” I am compelled to see how the rest of this conversation plays out. Curious minds want to know how a man who lived across the street from his son without talking to him, without hugging him, and without simply acknowledging him can consider himself a father let alone a good father. It’s must see TV.
The T.O. Show, VH1
Cheryl Conley, Another New Beginning for T.O, Associated Content
Terrell Owens, Catch This, Simon & Schuster, 2004
John Wawrow, T.O. Hopes Series Shows Other Side of his Reality, Associated Press