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5 Former Athletes Who Flamed Out on TV

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Christian Petersen/Michael Heiman/Scott Gries, Getty Images

Former Giants’ defensive end Michael Strahan is reportedly on the short list to take over for Regis Philbin on the popular morning program “LIVE!” If Strahan is chosen, it wouldn’t be his first entrance into the cultural limelight — he starred on the forgettable FOX sitcom “Brothers” in 2009.

He isn’t the first former athlete to leave the game behind in hopes of distinguishing himself as an actor or TV host. Here’s a look back at five recent ex-pros who have reemerged in the media and entertainment world:

The Not-So Magic Hour

The charismatic Lakers’ legend couldn’t make it work as a late-night talk-show host in 1998 — he was canceled after eight weeks. The show was marked by Johnson’s lack of comfort and chemistry with those around him, and it’s widely considered one of the great TV experiments gone bad of recent years. Johnson has been able to stick around largely as a basketball analyst for ESPN where producers let him be himself. Guess the late-night audience just didn’t want as much Magic in their lives.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

If his TV career didn’t go down the toilet fast enough during his stint as a correspondent with NBC’s ‘Today,’ Barber only further embarrassed himself when he was caught cheating on his wife with a 23-year-old NBC intern, whom Barber later married. His broadcasting career should have been a natural fit for the running back. But he never quite crossed over into the mainstream non-sports stories he was assigned, and NBC management grew impatient. In May 2010, the network cut him.

Keeping Up With Bruce’s Face

The Olympian for the decathlon has landed in a bizarre second life as an awkward step-father on ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians.’ Jenner has been ridiculed for his looks and his behavior since the show’s inception in 2007, and has appeared on the show’s spinoff series, ‘Khloe & Lamar.’ Jenner fell into the family when he married his wife, Kris, who was previously married to lawyer Robert Kardashian.

You Can’t Be serious MCENROE

McEnroe hosted ‘The Chair’ on ABC in January 2002, but it was his failed CNBC show, ‘McEnroe,’ that got him really riled up. Twice during its six-month lifespan the show received a 0.0 Nielsen rating. Nobody could save the show, as much as they tried. It turned out that people didn’t wish to turn to a former irritable tennis player for financial wisdom. When McEnroe has stayed more within the lines, and has cameoed as himself in several movies, he’s found a more winning recipe.

FOREMAN’s Sitcom Gets Grilled

He’s made a name for himself as both a boxer and a chef so it’s easy to forget Foreman’s conquest into the CBS sitcom family in 1993. His show, ‘George,’ was panned and is considered by many to be one of the worst sitcoms ever to air. That experience making just nine episodes of the flop must have scared Foreman straight as his few movie appearances afterward have cast Foreman as a boxing commentator.

NEXT: Scrabble and Other Outlandish Cheating Scandals

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