We’ve reached peak reality TV with Shaq and Ken Jeong

Odd jobs for an odd couple

Last spring, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal took on actor Ken Jeong in a rap battle of mismatched proportions. Shaq isn’t shy on a mic by any means, and Jeong got a few good licks on the big man, including a dig on Kazaam. Now, after the dust has settled and the wounds healed, the two are partnering for a new reality show pilot ordered by TBS. 

Produced by both Jeong and O’Neal, the unscripted Unqualified finds the duo performing various job duties that range from fun and interesting to downright avoidable for most people. There’s no denying the odd couple appeal of the 5’5” Jeong and the 7’1” O’Neal in itself is a hook worth initially tuning in for. Throwing in some random job that neither is suited to do adds a comedy dynamic that already feels a little over the top. 

This type of reality show isn’t exactly new. Mike Rowe spent eight seasons putting himself in the shoes of those doing duties many of us would never even want to attempt in Dirty Jobs. While he focused on the grit and the grind, it’s likely that O’Neal and Jeong will broaden the scope and go more comical with the direction of the show and the jobs they’ll be performing.

The idea feels like a mad lib come to life, and as much fun as the two will likely have on the show, it’s hard to imagine that this will have staying power. Once the initial novelty of the odd couple wears off, the jobs they take on will likely have to be progressively more obscure and unique to keep audience numbers up. Making jokes about each others’ size will only last so long. 

While the pilot has been ordered, no potential premiere date has been set at this time.

TBS Orders ‘Unqualified’ Unscripted Pilot Starring Shaquille O’Neal & Ken Jeong [Deadline]

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Nick Hershey
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