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Lingerie Football Promises More Skin

LOS ANGELES – The company behind the Lingerie Bowl, in which near-naked women played full-contact football for a pay-per-view audience, is closing in on a deal with Fox Television Studios for a 10-episode reality TV show based on the concept.

The series will feature scrimmages and other behind-the-scenes activities of the female football players, while games played by teams of the Lingerie Football League, which was recently created and has been casting cheerleaders since Monday, will still be made available only via pay-per-view.

The LFL comes from Horizon Prods., the company behind the Lingerie Bowl, which coincided with the infamous Super Bowl halftime show that included Janet Jackson and has become known, somewhat ironically, for its sexuality.

The FCC has begun cracking down on such sexually provocative over-the-air broadcasting, a development that influenced this week’s decision from Victoria’s Secret to halt its televised lingerie fashion shows — which might have given Horizon an inadvertent boost by thinning the competition for lingerie TV programming.

Horizon president Mitch Mortaza said the LFL television deal with Fox could be announced as soon as next week, though a Fox spokesman called such timing “premature.”

Also, a DVD and even a music CD is in the works with partners Universal Home Video and Universal Music Group, though a Universal spokeswoman couldn’t confirm the details. Mortaza said the DVD consists of footage from the Lingerie Bowl played in February as well as film taken of a calendar shoot and a Lingerie Bowl party, which Mortaza promises will be an annual event.

Mortaza said the success of the Lingerie Bowl has driven the company to create the LFL, which consists of four teams of 11 scantily clad women each.

Each team is led by a “celebrity quarterback,” and the plan is to have teams play a short tournament in January to determine the two best, which then will do battle during a pay-per-view event coinciding with next year’s Super Bowl halftime show. Celebrity coaches such as William “The Refrigerator” Perry and, most likely, Lawrence Taylor also are part of the package.

There is no word yet on corporate sponsorship. For the first Lingerie Bowl, automaker Dodge nixed its sponsorship plans amid complaints from special-interest groups. ultimately replaced Dodge.

Despite Mortaza’s bold predictions last year that Horizon would garner 1.5 million buys at $19.95 each, published estimates put that number closer to 100,000 buys. Mortaza said actual numbers for the show, which was made available via pay-per-view for about six weeks beyond the live event, are being audited and will be released next month.

The four teams making up the LFL are the Los Angeles Dream, the New York Euphoria, the Dallas Desire and the Chicago Bliss.

Mortaza promises even more skin than last time.

“The uniforms are a lot sexier,” he said. “The bottoms and tops are skimpier, and the shoulder pads are smaller.”

Separately, Horizon is taking bids on its “Guy’s Night Out,” a hidden-camera reality show that has single men hitting on attractive ladies. “The guys accrue points based on how well they do with the ladies,” Mortaza said.

And Mortaza said Horizon is negotiating TV rights for FreedomFest, a celebrity-driven charity event that will raise funds for the families of soldiers who have died in the current Iraq war. The event is to be held at RFK Stadium in Washington.

In the planning stages at the small studio is “Til Death or Opportunity Do Us Part,” whereby the vows of married couples are tested when dates are arranged between the spouses and their respective “old flames,” Mortaza said.

“It pushes the envelope,” he said. “But, hey, everything does these days.”



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