As a professional boxer for almost 30 years – many as the heavyweight champion of the world – George Foreman was a “must-see” phenomena in the ring. The problem was, not many of his boxing opponents stayed conscience long enough to see the full ferocious and prolific punching power that Foreman could unleash.
When Foreman, also known as “Big George,” retired from the ring in 1997, he had amassed an impressive 76 -5 professional career record, of which, 68 of the wins were knockouts. As a retired athlete, Foreman has become one of most successful entrepreneurs and pitchmen ever to emerge from any sport.
Now, NBC believes Foreman will again be a “must-see” phenomena, when he stars in the new alternative, but epic, comedy television series, “Better Late Than Never.” Starring with “Big George” is Henry “The Fonz” Winkler (“Happy Days”, “Royal Pains”), William “Captain Kirk” Shatner (“Star Trek,” “Boston Legal”) Terry Bradshaw (four-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and currently, a Fox NFL Sunday analyst), and comedian Jeff Dye (NBC’s “I Can Do That”).
The show, which premieres on Tuesday, August 23 at 10:00 p.m. EST, is a zany and unpredictable one-hour weekly series that takes four American legends and one up-and-coming star (Dye) on a one-month trip through Asia. The men visit such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Hong Kong, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
The objective for the five men is to navigate through respective language and cultural barriers. There will also be many other twists and turns that await the crew in each Asian city.
Foreman revealed his special plan for how he will navigate any exotic Asian food barrier.
“I’ve been to Asia before, both as a fighter and on business,” said Foreman. “As a boxer, when I came to Asia, I had to stick to a strict diet and did not eat the food there. This time, I’m eating everything; no Asian food will be safe.”
On this one-month journey – with no assistants or itineraries – the five men are devoid of first-class accommodations that they have been accustomed to receiving in America. In other words, no limousine services and no fancy hotels – not even close.
Foreman admitted, in the beginning, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to do the show. However, Winkler, one of the show’s executive producers and cast member, convinced “Big George” otherwise.
“He called and told me about his idea for the show, which was unreal because I didn’t want to do a reality show,” Foreman recalled. “But the more he and I talked, the more I learned about how good this show would be, especially with the other guys who were going to be on it. I wanted in!”
Foreman said traveling through Asia with the four others in the crew was a great adventure, fun, challenge, and life-changing.
“They are the greatest people that you ever want to meet,” Foreman said. “I couldn’t believe that I was traveling through Asia with Captain Kirk (Shatner) of ‘Star Trek.’ I’m also traveling with ‘The Fonz’ (Winkler), who created cool on television. There’s Terry Bradshaw, a four-time Super Bowl champion who is so funny, and so is Jeff Dye, the youngest of the five.”
Traveling across Asia without the customary amenities normally afforded to Foreman was noticeable. Yet, there were something that he said he could never leave behind, or do without: his faith and love for God, which are evident on this journey.
When not traveling through Asia, or visiting hundreds of cities around the United States and world, Foreman, an ordained minister for the past four decades, is in the pulpit of his Houston-area church.
“I usually preach at least three times every week,” said Foreman. “That’s my real job; I moonlight with the other things that I do in life.”
Foreman said he is thankful for the show, and what it will mean to millions of viewers.
“This show allowed me to do something that I’ve never done in my life, which is take a month off and do nothing,” Foreman said, with a huge laugh. “I’ve always worked. Earlier in my life as a boxer, I worked every day to make money so that I could take care of my mother and my siblings. Later in life, I got married and worked every day to take care of my great wife and children. As I got older, I wanted to do what I wanted to do for just one month, which was nothing…and that’s scary!”
“The show is really about five guys doing somethings that we all have never done, in a place far from home,” Foreman said. “We rely on each other for support and encouragement to make it work. The real point of the show is…don’t wait to live. It doesn’t matter how old you are…don’t wait to live. Do what you really want to do in your life – now!”
Up first for Foreman and the crew when “Better Late Than Never” premieres on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 10:00 p.m. (EST) is Tokyo, Japan, the world’s most populated city…and Tokyo will never be the same.