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Iron Mike Tyson is getting ready to make his debut as a reality TV star, the New York Post has reported.

Tyson, a life-long pigeon keeper, will star in a series about bird racing.

"I may have stopped fighting," said the former heavyweight champ. "But I never stopped flying birds. It's my first love."

The show, to be called Take on Tyson, pits Tyson and his birds against the best racing-pigeon owners in New York.

It is set to air on the cable channel Animal Planet sometime early next year.

The headline potential of turning the ferocious fighter into a reality TV star is not lost on Tyson himself, who has never been on a continuing series.

"I am a little worried about the sitcom effect," Tyson said over the weekend.

"Mike Tyson and Animal Planet? They don't seem to go together, do they?"

Tyson served three years for rape in the mid-'90s and effectively ended his fight career two years later by biting Evander Holyfield during a bout. But he is now well on his way to remaking himself into a sensitive guy.

He cried on Oprah's show last year and starred in a stunningly candid documentary about his life, Tyson (which many in Hollywood believe was robbed of an Oscar nomination).

In a surprising role reversal, it is Holyfield who is in hot water these days (accusations of domestic violence, a ducked Dr. Phil appearance) and Tyson who is working for the channel that shows the Puppy Bowl.

The fighter said these days he owns "a few hundred birds" in two lofts, one in Brooklyn and another in Jersey City. But he has never raced birds before.

Taking on Tyson begins shooting next month in Brooklyn, the network said.

For the show, Tyson turned his birds over to a cigar-smoking pigeon trainer, Vinnie Torre, who is getting them ready for the competition.

"Mike will be the underdog this time," said Marjorie Kaplan, the head of Animal Planet.

Tyson began with pigeons, he said, at age 10 or 11 in his Brownsville neighborhood, swiping milk crates for bigger kids who used them as coops for their birds.

"I cleaned cages," he said. "I was their go-fer." In exchange, "I got the strays."

He kept his birds in a small coop attached to the windowsill of his apartment for a while, he said, and later in a nearby abandoned building.

"I couldn't fly them off the roof," he explains. "Big kids would come and steal them."

And it was the birds that steered him to boxing, he says now.

"I never hurt anybody until somebody hurt one of my birds," Tyson said.

In the sport of pigeon racing, birds race distances up to 500 miles - with thousands wagered on the outcome.

Like most reality shows, the drama will not be in who wins but among the hard-core Brooklyn characters who work in the rooftop world of competitive pigeon racing.

"We're just lucky to have Mike Tyson to show us around," said Kaplan.

Details are still sketchy, she said. "We'll film and, when everyone gets back, we'll see what we have," said the network boss.

I saw this on ESPN tonight, and it intrigues me. I'll probably never watch it, but I've never seen bird racing so yea. I guess anything to make a buck, so more power too him.
I just hope this guy ends up okay. To be honest about the show, sounds pretty boring and I just do not see it doing well. But who knows?
King Eugene
PETA on Tyson
PETA is already pitching a fit about Mike Tyson’s next project, an Animal Planet television show about the little known sport of pigeon racing. Pop the hood for more.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says of Tyson’s breathtaking passion for his pigeons: “One wonders if Mike Tyson realizes that . . . these gentle, loyal birds who race their hearts out trying to get home to their life mates often end up lost in storms, or coming home just have their necks wrung for failure to beat their competitor’s time.”

We’re guessing that Tyson didn’t consult with PETA before taking on the show…

The series, tentatively called “Taking on Tyson,” delves into the little reported world of urban pigeon racing.
“I feel a great pride acting as an official representative for all the pigeon fancier’s out there,” Tyson said in the press release. “I want people to see why we love these birds. It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me – New York.”

Production house Touch Productions felt this would be a perfect fit for the former heavyweight, who raised pigeons since he was a child.
This is the Tyson that everone loves... The soft and gentle Tyson. LOL
QUOTE (King Eugene @ Mar 17 2010, 11:08 AM) *

It sounds like PETA is finding any reason to be upset about this. They can go fuck off, really.
lloyd mayflower
What a shower of arseholes PETA are! Pigeon racing, although not my cup of tea, is an ancient sport, and also, pigeons are fucking vermin and dont even deserve owners who look after them. I have to say though, I work with a guy who I call the Hitler of the north due to the atrocities he commits against his pigeons when they do not perform to the standard he expects!
PETA are a bunch of fucking morons. They should focus on animal torture, people poaching animals and some of those things. Not little trivial stuff. I'm actually happy for Tyson, whatever he does that keeps him occupied and out of trouble is good for him. He strikes me as a person that needs things in his life to keep him out of trouble.
FOCK PETA and the HORSE they rode in on.
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