Hollywood - Television is drawing new blood from the legends of Transylvania, combining vampires and umpires to create the next big viewing trend.
"We knew the vampire concept was losing steam when retail sales of artificial fangs started dropping," says Andrea Keech. HBO's Vice President for Subliminal Messaging. "Viewers needed a new angle that they could sink their teeth into."
The notion of adding major-league umpires to the mix was stumbled upon by NBC's Director of Wowness, Jim Sochanski. "I was writing a memo about True Blood and my spellcheck kept changing the word 'vampire' to 'umpire.' So if this doesn't work out, I'm going to pin the whole thing on Siri."
But Sochanski has reasons to believe the idea will succeed. "Good drama is all about conflict," he explains. "And who has more conflict on the job than an umpire? He is constantly challenged, second-guessed and humiliated, while trying to control a game that moves faster than he can think."
When asked if the umpire concept would have the same sex appeal as the traditional vampire legends deliver, Sochanski responds, "Umpires control millions of dollars worth of talent, even though they themselves have no perceivable skills. Being a television executive, I can relate to how sexy that is."
As of today, four vampire/umpire series are in the works:
- Bats! - Follows the adventures of a vampire/umpire who turns into a bat to play practical jokes on players and fans, while also serving as a secret military drone.
- Full Count - Is the story of Count Vladich Ilich, a Transylvanian nobleman who comes to America for a chance at calling balls and strikes. As he rises through the ranks, he struggles with counseling, skin patches and prescription gum in continuous attempts to break his addiction to human blood.
-True Blind - Introduces TV audiences to the first major-league umpire who is legally sightless. A loyal seeing-eye dog, supernatural powers and a good sense of smell helps him get the better of his sighted colleagues.
- Bobby the Umpire Slayer - Reality series traces the life and times of Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, as he seeks fairness from an incompetent crew of umpires before they suck the life out of baseball.