The attempted reinvention of Michael Vick continues tonight with the premiere of BET’s “Michael Vick Project” — a quasi-documentary that focuses on his alleged redemption and glosses over the horrors he perpetrated on dogs.
As its name implies, the show stars Michael Vick, who, up to now at least, has been less than convincing in the role of the remorseful, regretful and rehabilitated fighter of dogs who managed to resecure a multi-million contract as an NFL quarterback.
The word on the show is it focuses little, and then only superficially, on the evils he committed — as has been the case with his appearances at schools and before youth groups on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States.
Those appearances, the TV show, and his Ed Block Courage Award — all focusing on Michael Vick’s travails, Michael Vick’s ”bravery,” Michael Vick’s struggle, Michael Vick’s “redemption” — are only reinforcing the concept that one can get away with murder, or at least end up sitting pretty afterwards, at least when the perpetrator is a quarterback and the victims are dogs.
At this point, let me say that I’m all for rehabilitation, and all for second chances. In the eight years I reported about and hung out with prisoners — murderers even — I came to know, trust and, in a few cases, even respect many of them. I’m not a throw away the key kind of guy.
But allowing a convict to return to society is one thing. Seeing him return to the NFL, giving him a TV show, and topping it off with a “courage award” based on — what? — are quite another.
Michael Vick has every right to pursue and obtain those things. I’m not saying he should be banned from reaping riches, or anything else, with the possible exception of dog ownership — only that it turns my stomach to watch it all, and to watch the masses not just accept it, but throw their support behind him.
Yes, he served his time. Yes, he has a right to make a living. Yes, he can throw a football. But as for his choreographed image makeover, I’m not buying it – based on the comments he has made and his seemingless emotionless demeanor. I’ve yet to see any remorse in his face, and I’ve heard far more, from him, about his suffering than that of his dogs.
There’s no question he — and many others — are putting a lot of work into redeeming his image, but that’s different from redeeming oneself.
In an a radio interview with Dan Patrick this week to promote the TV show (it premieres tonight at 10 on BET), Vick was asked if he would still be fighting dogs if he hadn’t been caught.
“That’s the scary thing,” Vick responded. “I think about it. I would have continued to put my life in jeopardy. From a distance I would have still been involved.”
James DuBose, CEO of Dubose Entertainment, which is producing the Michael Vick Project, said, ”We hope his story will be one in which years from now, people particularly young men, will view and learn valuable lessons from.”
My fear – given that in the year since he completed his less than two-year prison sentence he’s been signed up as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, given a TV show and will be honored in March with an award – is that those lessons may not be the right ones.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bet, dan patrick, documentary, dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, editorial, image, michael vick, michael vick project, opinion, redemption, remorse, series, television, tv, vick
Animal Planet will kick off a new series of investigative specials Monday night with a no-holds-barred look into the underground culture of dogfighting.
“Animal Planet Investigates: Dog Fighting Exposed” will probe the secretive world of organized dogfighting, with rare footage and commentary from law enforcement officers and former dogfighters. The special examines cases across the United States, including Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Michigan and New York.
“By bringing viewers the true and uncensored reality behind dog fighting, we intend to raise public awareness about this cruel and inhumane practice,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet.
“The brave men and women working tirelessly to expose and dismantle these fighting rings are using daring tactics and thanks in large part to their efforts we were able to share this powerful story with our viewers in an in-depth and unprecedented way. Some of the images might be tough to take, but it’s vitally important that these stories are told.
The hour-long show is the first in a quarterly series of specials on the network that will investigate animal issues.
It premieres Monday at 10 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal planet, animal planet investigates, animals, awareness, culture, dog fighters, dog fighting, dog fighting exposed, dogfighters, dogfighting, dogs, investigation, investigative, monday, organized, pets, pit bulls, rings, series, special, television, tv, underground
Fox is developing a new sitcom inspired by the work of “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan.
Details are still being ironed out, Variety reports, but it appears that Wilmer Valderrama (left) would play the character based on Millan, who has built a massive empire from his skills as a professional dog trainer.
Millan’s series, “The Dog Whisperer,” has aired on the National Geographic Channel, which is operated by Fox Cable Networks, since 2004.
Valderrama is best known for his role on “That ’70s Show” and, more recently, as the voice of Disney Channel’s “Handy Manny.” His feature credits include “The Dry Land,” “Fast Food Nation” and “Unaccompanied Minors.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: based, cesar millan, character, dog, dog whisperer, dogs, entertainment, fox, national geographic channel, networks, new, series, show, television, trainer, training, tv, valerrama, variety, wilmer
You might want to sit down for this one: Michael Vick is going to star in his own television series.
Two weeks after his first regular season appearance as an NFL quarterback since completing his prison sentence for dog fighting, Vick has announced he has the starring and title role in an eight-part docu-series on BET, tentatively titled “The Michael Vick Project.”
Call it amrak (the opposite of karma). Call it unjust desserts. Call it absolutely outrageous. But the convicted animal abuser is on the verge of getting another heaping helping of good fortune.
“I just want people to really get to know me as an individual,” Vick said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “What I want to do is change the perception of me. I am a human being. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, and I wish it had never happened. But it’s not about how you fall, but about how you pick yourself up.”
The program will spotlight his controversial comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles and examine his tumultuous past — including his troubled childhood and his 2007 arrest for running a dogfighting ring, with visits to both the Virginia estate where he fought dogs and federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he served his sentence.
Officials with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals expressed skepticism about the project. “People who abuse animals don’t deserve to be rewarded,” said PETA spokesman Dan Shannon. “They shouldn’t be given multimillion-dollar contracts . . . or given the privilege of being a role model.”
The project has the support of the Eagles, the NFL and the Humane Society of the United States, which has enlisted Vick in its battle to end the widespread abuse of dogs in the inner city.
The project is being produced by DuBose Entertainment; Vick’s production company, MV7 Productions; and Category 5 Entertainment. No one associated with the production would comment on Vick’s compensation for the series, the Times reported. Vick has filed a six-year plan to repay creditors an estimated $20 million to get out of bankruptcy.
Producers of the Vick series said the program would not a typical reality show like VH-1′s “The T.O. Show,” which revels in the excesses of its flamboyant star, wide receiver Terrell Owens. The tone of Vick’s show, say producers, will be serious and somber as it focuses on his personal struggles since his release.
“This show can be a blueprint for so many kids,” Vick said. “I want to show them that things are going to happen, that they’re not going to get through life without dealing with some kind of adversity. I want to show that if they have a fall from grace, this is how they can turn it around. We want this to be a story of hope.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bet, contract, docu-series, documentary, hsus, michael vick, michael vick project, nfl, peta, philadelphia eagles, program, reality, series, television, tv, vick
Big guys with large tattoos rescue dogs in “Rescue Ink Unleashed,” a new weekly series on the National Geographic Channel.
It premieres Sept. 25 at 10 p.m.
Rescue Ink was formed a few years ago when eight tough guys with soft spots for animals began their mission to save animals from abuse.
The New York Times had an excellent article on the group last year, which led to National Geographic’s interest. Its members include bouncers, security guards, a retired New York City detective, and some who have run afoul of the law.
Each one-hour episode of “Rescue Ink Unleashed” takes viewers on “ride-alongs” as members follow up on leads in the New York metro area. Taking an average of 100 calls a week at their headquarters on Long Island, they jump into their cars — or on their “hogs” — and confront alleged animal abusers, rescue fighting dogs, investigate stolen animals and encourage owners to give up their pets if it is in the best interest of the animals.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal, cats, dogs, ink, national geographic channel, new, new york, premiere, rescue, rescue ink, season, series, television, unleashed