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Versus to Debut New Season of the Contender hosted by Tony Danza, Dec 3, 10 P.M. ET The Impressive Sergio Mora My 2007 Fight of the Year


New York, N.Y. (November 25, 2008)—VERSUS, the network that celebrates real competition, will debut the fourth season of THE CONTENDER on Wednesday, December 3, at 10 p.m. ET. Television icon Tony Danza will host the series, which includes 11 one-hour episodes and a live two-hour finale. The weekly episodes will air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET, and the live two-hour finale on February 25 will start at 9 p.m. ET. All episodes are available on VERSUS HD.

“VERSUS, in partnership with Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television, will deliver the best season of THE CONTENDER fight fans have ever seen. Featuring 16 fighters with great stories and with Tony Danza as the new host, fans will be taken on a non-stop, hard-hitting ride to the live finale in February,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “The highly anticipated fourth season of THE CONTENDER fits in perfectly with VERSUS’ lineup of real, raw and authentic original sports programming and will help to further establish the network as a go-to destination for fight action.”

Shot on location in Singapore, this installment of THE CONTENDER features 16 Cruiserweights from around the world who will face each other in the 12-episode competition. With former boxer and television star Tony Danza serving as host and mentor alongside veteran Tommy Brooks & John Bray as trainers, these fighters will go through the most intense training of their lives and battle in the most challenging fights of their careers. In the end, the two left standing will get into the ring on February 25 to fight for the coveted title of Contender Champion. The location of the fight is yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

The fighters, represented by Tournament of Contenders, have gone on to fight Joe Calzaghe, Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, and Oscar de La Hoya. In June 2008 Sergio Mora, THE CONTENDER season 1 champion, went on to become the first Contender World Champion by winning the WBC title.

“We are really excited for our season four launch on VERSUS,” said Mark Burnett. “VERSUS has been an incredible partner so far and Dreamworks and I are confident that CONTENDER fans and the VERSUS viewers alike will love all the boxers and drama that will unfold this season."

Tony Danza was discovered at a boxing gym in his native New York and was cast in the critically acclaimed “Taxi” which earned him a place in television history. He then went on to star in the long-running popular television series “Who’s The Boss?” cementing his status as a television icon. In addition, Tony hosted his own daytime series “The Tony Danza Show” as well as numerous other television series and specials.

For more in-depth information about the show including bios for all 16 fighters, the two trainers and Tony Danza, viewers can visit Additional contents available on the site include: show schedule, interviews with the fighters, episode recaps and exclusive behind-the-scenes video footage from the show. Viewers can also find information about the Vibes contest in which they can text their entry or vote online to be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a trip to the live finale. The sweepstakes starts December 3 and concludes February 11.

THE CONTENDER is produced by Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television and was produced in Singapore in cooperation with Mark Burnett Productions Asia who provided production and logistical support. The series is executive produced by Mark Burnett, Eric Van Wagenen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Jeff Wald, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, and Page Feldman are co-executive producers.

Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) is a leading production company for primetime television, cable and the internet, and has produced 1,100 hours of television programming which regularly air in over 70 countries around the world. MBP revolutionized television with hits such as Survivor (CBS), The Apprentice (NBC), The Contender (Versus), Rock Star: INXS (CBS), the Steven Spielberg co-production On The Lot (FOX), the smash hit Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX), which is currently being produced in 51 countries and Martha (about to begin its 4th season) which Mark Burnett serves as executive producer. In the summer of 2007and 2008, MBP entered the world of Award Shows, when Mark Burnett served as executive producer for the MTV Movie Awards. In October of 2007, MBP opened Mark Burnett Productions Asia; a joint venture with Genting International to both create new content for and adapt established formats in the Asian market.

Since 2001, MBP has garnered a total of 47 Emmy nominations with 5 wins, and has won 4 People’s Choice Awards. Mark Burnett has been named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine and named TV Guide’s most valuable player. He has won both BRANDWEEK’S Marketer of the Year Award and the prestigious ROSE D’OR FRAPA Format Award. In 2007, Mark Burnett was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. In 2008, Mark was honored with the announcement that he is to receive a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. This year will continue with new shows for MBP, including StarMaker (MTV), Jingles (CBS), Wedding Day (TNT), Bully Beatdown (MTV) and Expedition (History Channel), as well as new seasons of old favorites.

DreamWorks Television is a division of DreamWorks SKG which was founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. DreamWorks Television is currently in production on seasons five and six of "Rescue Me" on FX, season four of “The Contender” for Versus, season one of “United States of Tara” for Showtime starring Toni Collette, season one of the ABC comedy "Single with Parents" starring Alyssa Milano, Beau Bridges and Annie Potts, and season one of the reality series "Wedding Day" for TNT. In the longform arena, DreamWorks Television and co-production partner Playtone are in post production on "The Pacific" for HBO. The division previously produced the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated "Into The West" for TNT as well as the Emmy Award winning "Taken" for the SciFi Channel. Other past DreamWorks Television projects include: "Spin City," "Band of Brothers," "Father of the Pride," "Freaks and Geeks," "The Job," "Boomtown," "Undeclared," "On the Lot," "Carpoolers," and "Las Vegas."

VERSUS celebrates real competition across all platforms (, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD). Now in more than 73 million homes, the network is the national cable home of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as best-in-class events such as The Tour de France, Davis Cup Tennis, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), the Indy Racing League and Professional Boxing. The network also offers collegiate sports featuring nationally-ranked teams from top conferences such as the Pac-10, Big 12, Mountain West and Ivy League. VERSUS features the best field sports programming on television and is a destination for sports fans, athletes and sportsmen to find exclusive, competitive events and original programs, such as TapouT, Sports Soup and THE CONTENDER that audiences can't find elsewhere. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.


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