USA Gets Ready For ‘The Moment’

Tonight at 10 PM, USA launches its first major unscripted series, “The Moment,” hosted by former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner. The series takes people who gave up pursuing their dream jobs years ago, and gives them a second chance.

For Warner, the show is personal. He knows what the participants are going through.

“I came back to try and get an opportunity in the NFL, and I had someone call 13 NFL teams, and 12 of them said, ‘no, we’re not interested,’ but fortunately one of them said, ‘we’ll give this guy a tryout,’ and it was the St Louis Rams, they gave me a second shot,” Warner told FishbowlNY over dinner at A Voce Columbus Circle earlier this week.

Unlike most “reality” shows, “The Moment” does not offer a fake position with a lucrative salary. The jobs the cast members train for is a real one, and may even come with paychecks lower than the ones they currently hold.

“This show is people who legitimately have the skill, but life knocked them down,” creator and executive producer Charlie Ebersol says. “It may not be the best thing for everybody, if you have your moment, and you get to the other side, you may realize that the grass isn’t really greener. Not everyone gets the job, but also  not everyone took the job.”

Some of the jobs featured this year include White House chef, NASCAR driver, Sports Illustrated photographer, dance choreographer or a coaching position with Notre Dame football.

“I would say there are less than a half dozen companies that turned us down,” Ebersol says. “Notre dame had never done a reality show and probably will never do another reality show again, but it was so cleanly paralleled with their faith, but also the entire motto of the school.”

For USA, it is a big step into reality shows, a genre which dominates cable TV, but which the channel has not really tackled before outside of WWE wrestling. The channel–routinely number one on cable–is planning more unscripted launches throughout the year, including “Summer Camp” over the summer, and “The Choir” during the holiday season.

The shows all have a feel-good vibe, and “The Moment” is no exception, even when things get tough.

“To me, it is about the legacy you can leave” Warner says. “To be able to share my story, and having been there, knowing what they go through, but more importantly knowing the possibilities that can come with a second chance, what it can mean for someone’s life, is by far the most exciting part of what we are doing.”

Related: USA Network gets into ‘The Moment’ with social platform ‘My Moment’