Archery to Have Shot at Reality TV
Contained in this week's edition of The Archery Wire you'll see a press release from the NBC Sports Network detailing its plans for an upcoming reality show based on competitive archery called "Nock Out."
The show, currently scheduled to premier sometime in 2013, will pit top archery shooters (to be determined) in head-to-head challenges with the bow and arrow, ultimately resulting in the crowning of a top contender through a series of eliminations-or "nock outs."
It appears to The Archery Wire that those NBC Sports wordsmiths really outdid themselves. So much so, that in the press release they were obligated to explain to those reality show fans unfamiliar with bow and arrows and that the title Nock Out is a "play on words."
The press release explains to non-toxophilites that "nock" is archery terminology, and it's described as "the part of an arrow that secures it to the bowstring."
To that end, we wonder just how technical, realistic and effective a
TV show about archery competition can be-especially if its producers feel the need to start with an explanation about what the name of the show signifies.
But then again, when it comes to television, we're just about as old school as you can get, easily preferring reruns of The Andy Griffith Show over just about anything produced since the early 1990s. We find far much more entertainment value in Floyd the Barber than the fat, pierced, tattooed broad on truTV's Operation Repo, for example.
According to the NBC Sports press release about Nock Out, 12 contestants will be split into three teams of four archers. The archers will compete in Team Challenges, where teammates will strategize and work together by utilizing each archer's particular strengths. Some challenges will focus on speed and accuracy, while others will demand endurance and consistency. The two losing teams will each nominate one archer from their team to compete in the head-to-head "Nock- Out Round." The winner will return to compete in the next episode, while the loser will be "nocked out."
The Nock Out web site indicates the show's host will be Nikki Haverstock, described as a recurve archer who has been ranked as high as 9th in the USA Archery Rolling Rankings and 13th in the USAT Rankings, and served as adjunct professor at Biola University in Los Angeles where she taught archery for more than eight years.
There's no denying the enormous popularity of reality shows among TV viewers these days. And when it comes to shooting sports, The History Channel's Top Shots is definitely among the leaders in the genre-and it certainly gained the attention of throngs of those persons who love firearms, shooting and respect the Second Amendment.
If NBC's Nock Out has anywhere near the same effect among existing and potential archers and bowhunters as Top Shots has on the firearms faithful, that alone will make it successful. We'd prefer to see more emphasis on equipment, shooting techniques, training and archery history than on the personal conflicts-something that normally serves as the basis in most reality show formulas.
But that's probably wishful thinking.
"NBC Sports Network was chosen as the home for the Nock Out series because they reach the largest audience of outdoor enthusiasts across the nation," said Executive Producer, Jeffrey Willerth.
Nock Out Creator and Producer Robert Hanson agreed. "The NBC Sports Network viewers appreciate the intense human drama only available from the competitive side of archery."
Whatever the case, when Nock Out begins airing next year, we'll most definitely check it out. But when it comes to "intense human drama," we prefer watching the dramatic discourse between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife, thank you.
- J.R. Absher