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Spike TV Tees Up a Tiger and a Duke

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Spike TV, which hasn't had a hit show its seven-year existence, is hoping to change its luck with a series about a golfer that, at first glance, seems to be ripped from recent headlines.

    "Back Nine," a single-camera original series starrinng onetime "Dukes of Hazzard" star John Schneider as Ronnie Barnes, a washed-up golfer who travels the country competing in small-time tournaments in a bid to get back on the PGA Tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And here's the part that might sound familiar: His sex-addicted caddy is a fellow by the name of Tiger.

    But before you roll your eyes, you should know Spike has had the show in the works for over a year, and the Tiger name was in from the beginning. So either Spike knew something before we did, or it's a coincidence.

    While virtually every other major cable network has found a signature original show to hang its hat on, Spike has come up empty. Even AMC got into the game with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Think of the number of shows FX has launched with male appeal: “It’s Always Sunny,” “The Shield,” Sons of Anarchy.”

    Spike's latest offering has "Tin Cup" written all over it, and may not fare any better than the network's past efforts at launching original series. Remember “Strippella”? Or “Gary the Rat”? Of course you don’t. Those shows were God awful, and no one deserves to be inflicted with them ever again.

    Here is what I hope Spike TV does with it. I hope they finally stop straining to produce original programming that sounds like it came from the cutting room floor of Maxim magazine, and make this show as visceral and intelligent as some of those FX shows. Those are the shows a lot of men – and Spike is all about the menfolk - watch, and it’s a formula Spike would be wise to duplicate. It’s about focusing on character, and not on making the world’s easiest Tiger sex joke.