NBC names Jesse Ventura XFL Analyst
January 10, 2001
Jesse Ventura was recently named an analyst on NBC’s upcoming XFL broadcasts. The joint announcement was made by Dick Ebersol, Chairman NBC Sports and Olympics and Vince McMahon, Chairman of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. The XFL, which is co-owned and operated by WWFE, Inc. and NBC, begins its first season on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2001. NBC will televise a weekly game in primetime each Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
“We’re thrilled to have one of the most interesting and colorful people in America today joining us as an integral part of the XFL,” said Ebersol. “This demonstrates our commitment to present real football in a fresh, new, fun way.”
Said McMahon: “The XFL will be the best reality show on television and nobody can add color commentary to our brand of football the way Jesse Ventura can. He’s naturally opinionated, charismatic, and genuine — just like the XFL will be. From day one, we’ve promised that the XFL will allow the true personality of the game to shine and we believe that Jesse is the best person to make that happen.”
Ventura’s previous broadcasting experience includes two years (1989-90) as the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio analyst. He also worked one season on Minnesota Vikings radio broadcasts. In addition, Ventura hosted a sports radio talk show in Minneapolis.
Ventura’s professional wrestling career spanned 11 years. He was known as one of the best interviews and most colorful and popular entertainers in the sport. When his in-ring career was complete, he became an analyst with the WWF and co-hosted the WWF’s “Prime Time Wrestling.” He also hosted a WWF talk show called “The Body Shop.”
In 1984, Ventura – a former Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam – retired from wrestling and became an actor. He has appeared in several films including Predator (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Batman & Robin.
The XFL’s eight teams will play a 10-week regular season and a two-week playoff, culminating with the XFL championship game on April 21, 2001. XFL rule modifications – most notably its “no fair catch” rule – are designed to add excitement while encouraging offense.
NBC’s coverage will provide viewers with an “all-access backstage pass” through the use of cameras and microphones placed everywhere from the players and coaches themselves to the huddles and sidelines.
The eight teams are: Birmingham Thunderbolts, Chicago Enforcers, New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Memphis Maniax, San Francisco Demons, Los Angeles Xtreme and Las Vegas Outlaws.