No longer content with reliving his past glories on the big screen and on Broadway, Sylvester Stallone is now expanding his nostalgia tour to television. News dropped yesterday that Sly is in talks to bring John Rambo to television. But why stop there? Here are five other Stallone characters that could easily headline their own series.
Character: Robert Hatch
Movie: Victory (1981), the World War II soccer picture that found Sly playing goalie for a ragtag team of POWs (including Michael Caine and Pelé!) that had the nerve to challenge the Nazis on the field, all the while planning a daring prison break.
Pitch: Fast-forward the timeline to the early '70s, when
football soccer made its first serious invasion onto American shores thanks to the North American Soccer League and flashy teams like the New York Cosmos, which managed to recruit Pelé himself into their line-up. Having sworn off the sport following his wartime ordeal, Hatch is tempted back onto the pitch as coach of a small-market team that wants to make a name for itself amidst the big boys.
It's Like: Friday Night Lights meets Life on Mars (the British version, natch)
Perfect For: ESPN, which has taken baby steps into dramatic series before -- remember The Bronx is Burning and Playmakers? Well you should… they were pretty good! -- and would benefit from doing so again, especially with World Cup coverage ramping up again in advance of the 2014 Rio edition.
Character: Nick Martinelli
Movie: Rhinestone (1984), which offered the improbably team-up of Stallone and Dolly Parton in a gender-swapped, country music-themed May Fair Lady riff that featured classic musical numbers like this one.
Pitch: Having traded the bright lights of Manhattan for the quiet life of the co-owners of a Tennessee honky tonk saloon, Sly and Dolly manage their daughter's (Megan Hilty) fledgling recording career and the kooky cast of characters that walk through the door.
It's Like: Cheers meets Evening Shade
Perfect For: ABC, which can pair it with Nashville and give America the Dolly Parton/Connie Britton duet they've been praying for.
Character: Lincoln Hawk
Movie: Over the Top (1986), Stallone's towering arm-wrestling epic (and subject of an especially fine How Did This Get Made episode) where he arm-wrassled his mountainous nemesis Bull into oblivion and won his estranged son's love in the process.
Pitch: Having successfully built the Hawk & Son Trucking Company out of his arm wrestling winnings, Linc and his now-grown kid (Kellan Lutz, whose got the biceps for it) turn their attention towards establishing a law firm that defends both long-haul truckers and arm-wrestling enthusiasts.
It's Like: Sanford & Son meets Suits
Perfect For: USA, which needs some more muscle in its line-up now that Burn Notice is finally being burned off.
Character: Sylvester Stallone
Movie: Burn Hollywood Burn: An Alan Smithee Film (1997), the famously disastrous Hollywood satire that featured real actors (like Stallone, Ryan O'Neal and Whoopi Goldberg) playing themselves.
Pitch: Meet Sly Stallone, family man and action star, whose career could use a bit of a jump-start. Good thing his friends (Arnold, Jean-Claude and Carl) are always on hand to help.
It's Like: Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Action
Perfect For: TV Land, because that's where '80s icons go to die.
Character: Joe the Lion
Movie: Zookeeper (2011), the Kevin James comedy about a zookeeper who carries on extended conversations with the chatty animals in his care.
Pitch: With the Madagascar TV series long since gone and forgotten, there's certainly space on the airwaves for an animated series (why pay for live-action?) about talking animals and the dumb humans they bedevil.
Perfect For: Nickelodeon, just so they have something to show in between Spongebob Squarepants marathons.
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