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The Early Lead
Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 07/15/2011

San Francisco Giants reality show, “The Franchise,” debuts (Video)


Brian Wilson (R), Eli Whiteside (L) and the Giants are giving viewers an all-access pass to life in the big leagues with their new reality show. (Ben Margot - AP)

(Watch a sneak peak at “The Franchise” and the get early jump on Brian Wilson’s new catch phrase here.)

The World Series champion San Francisco Giants are certainly getting their fair share of the television spotlight lately.

First it was Brian Wilson showing off his flashy new kicks while picking up the save for the National League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Then it was Brian Wilson showing off his “spux” (spandex tuxedo) on the red carpet at Wednesday’s ESPY awards show. And that same night it was Brian Wilson showing off his quirkiness in front of the cameras for the debut of Showtime’s new reality series: “The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants.”

All right, so maybe it’s just Wilson — and his beard — who has been hogging the spotlight over the last week.

Thursday’s premiere provided the first chapter in a quick, six-part series of one-hour episodes that will chronicle the Giants’ 2011 season. With unprecedented access to players and team facilities, it’ll give fans a candid look at what life is like in “The Show.”

So how did the first episode go over? Well, it’s safe to say “The Franchise” is not going to be a baseball version of HBO’s Hard Knocks (no snack time so far).

While he enjoyed the first installment San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Olster is worried the show — if it follows the path laid out Wednesday night — may not resonate with non-Giants fans.

“For the rest of the baseball world, it will be interesting to see if the series reinforces the image of the Giants as zany, offbeat guys having fun playing a game, or causes folks in New York and Philadelphia to roll their eyes and switch the channel.”

But what the show lacked in drama, it made up for in production value and genuine reality — not forced bombast and over-the-top theatrics. And, at its root, isn’t that the point of reality television?

If nothing else, the show will have you ragging on you co-workers with the catch-all phrase “Got Heeeem!” It’s bound to catch on.

The show may soon feature a familiar face for Washington Nationals fans, too. According to reports, the Giants hired former-Nats manager Jim Riggleman as a team scout on Friday morning.

A new reality show with a big helping of Brian Wilson and a side of Riggs? Now that’s a win-win.

By  |  09:10 AM ET, 07/15/2011

 
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