Is there anything that Shaq won’t do? The NBA on TNT analyst DJs, shows up on esports specials, has a fighting video game, guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live (seen above), and is now launching a restaurant in Vegas. And he’s going to have viewers follow along in a Facebook Watch series, and even “help shape” how it turns out. Here’s more from a release:
Shaq has partnered with The Content Group’s Asylum Entertainment to produce Big Chicken Shaq, a new Facebook Watch series premiering this fall. Through real-time engagement on Facebook Watch, fans will be able to help shape Shaq’s new Las Vegas restaurant – Big Chicken – launching later this year.
The eight-episode series will chronicle O’Neal’s journey as he angles to balance his already busy life with the restaurant – determined to maintain his singular humor in the process. Fans will be given numerous opportunities to interact with Shaq and offer opinions that will impact how the new restaurant unfolds. The series will also feature a variety of content in-between episodes, and O’Neal will leverage Facebook Live to surprise fans with cookalongs, taste tests and other activities.
“It’s going to be so much fun designing my own restaurant, and I can’t imagine a better group of people to do it with than with my incredibly loyal Facebook fans,” O’Neal said. “It’s an opportunity for us to collaborate together, and I know the Facebook community will offer terrific feedback.”
Added Content Group CEO Steve Michaels, “We’re proud to help create a forum where a larger-than-life superstar can connect with his fans on a unique, personal level, essentially serving as teammates in his newest enterprise. From sports and consumer products to entertainment and now a signature restaurant, there really is no world Shaq cannot conquer.”
“I know the Facebook community will offer terrific feedback” is a bold statement, and one that may wind up with a restaurant serving dishes named “Chicky McChicken Face.” And Michaels’ statement is fun, especially that last line; is Shaq Alexander now? Or a Die Hard fan? But this does have a few advantages over the many, many sports content offerings on Facebook and other social media platforms; it has a big and entertaining personality in Shaq, it has a well-established format (people like watching restaurant/bar development/rescue/whatever else shows), and it has a relatively distinct hook in the form of viewer interaction. So it’s possible to see this finding some success.
The real question may be if Shaq will bring his commitment to feuding with and trolling fellow NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley to this series, though. Maybe a “Chuck’s Chicken” that can’t be served with (onion) rings? Or “Chuck’s Thrown Chicken Wings“? Or a “Google Me” sandwich, maybe with a catfish option? In any case, let’s hope that Shaq has a better understanding of restaurant economics than of the cost of refueling a car. Or that he has someone to do the books, at least. Because otherwise, this might be a pretty short-lived restaurant…