In an effort to make a slam dunk with its original online programming, Yahoo Sports is teaming with Electus and College Humor to produce Blindsided, a 10-part sports prank series featuring pro athletes that premieres on Jan. 19.
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The series only slightly compares to MTV’s Punk’d. The program doesn’t have a dedicated Ashton Kutcher-like host but each episode will run from three- to five-minutes and feature players from the NFL, NBA, and MLB developing and executing the pranks.
New York Knick guard Landry Fields stars in the debut, with subsequent episodes featuring Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice and Bryant Mckinnie. Perhaps at some point New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning might be involved, since he’s also known as the “godfather of pranks.”
With Blindsided and Electric City, an animated sci-fi series from Tom Hanks set to debut this year, Yahoo execs say that the web should be considered as a legitimate alternative for original programming. Erin McPherson, vp and head of video for Yahoo, told Adweek in an email:
“This is going to be a big year for Yahoo and our premium video strategy,” wrote McPherson. “Blindsided . . . is a great example of how we create unique and compelling content tied to what we know our users want to watch.”
Given the hilarity that happens on virtually every episode of TNT’s Inside the NBA with basketball analysts Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, there seems to be an ready-made viewership for sports-related pranks.