TruTV serves up Hulk Hogan, little-people wrestlers and testosterone-filled shows

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Looks like TruTV is trying to out-Spike Spike.

The cable channel, announcing its programming plans to advertisers during the annual upfront on Tuesday, will air a series about little-people wrestlers with former professional grappler Hulk Hogan serving as mentor to the budding league. The working title is ‘Hulk Hogan’s MCW.’

Spike TV broke ground in this controversial area last summer with ‘Half Pint Brawlers,’ that followed a band of hardcore, proudly politically incorrect wrestlers led by an athlete-performer nicknamed Puppet the Psycho Dwarf. The show, which featured the stars battling on Bourbon Street and in a Louisiana maximum-security prison, ran one season.


So who knows if there’s a public appetite for more hand-to-hand combat between pint-sized contenders?

Hogan’s role will be to guide the newly formed Micro Championship Wrestling league in its training, recruiting and performing to ‘show the world that little people are serious athletes who have the determination to succeed,’ according to the network’s statement. ‘The goal is to get this new business off the ground and into the arena.’

Hogan, the cast and crew recently spent about four weeks filming at live fighting events in South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The series is scheduled to run six episodes this summer on TruTV, where executives have renewed a number of testosterone-charged shows and picked up male-targeted programming about semi-pro football players, motorcycle racers, repo men, tow-truck drivers and practical jokers.

Among the highlights of TruTV’s upfront:

The network has renewed ‘Black Gold,’ about Texas oil field workers, ‘Hardcore Pawn,’ which focuses on a Detroit family-owned pawn shop, and ‘Full Throttle Saloon,’ which captures the action at ‘the world’s largest biker bar’ in Sturgis, S.D. There will also be additional episodes of first-season hit, North Carolina-based ‘Lizard Lick Towing,’ which delves into the personal and professional lives of a group of towing and repo company employees. New projects include ‘Semi-Pro,’ an NFL Films-produced series about semi-professional football players and ‘Impractical Jokers,’ about four friends who like to punk one another. (They’ll be competing in ‘unbelievably awkward social experiments’ with a hidden camera.)

Filmmakers Tony and Ridley Scott are behind a project with the working title ‘Motoclash,’ about the ‘longest, most dangerous motorcycle race in the history of the sport.’ The show will center on the competitors and their road to the race.

From Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions, ‘South Beach Tow’ will follow a towing company and its road-weary employees in Miami, and ‘Bear Swamp Recovery’ trails after repo men in a Sicilian family-owned New Jersey company. ‘Guinness World Records’ shows what it takes to get in the famous record book, as coached by the Pumphrey brothers, themselves members of that club.

Joey Ice, an ice sculptor dubbed the Michelangelo of frozen H2O, gets a starring role in ‘Chill,’ and cab company boss Mike Grasso will be at the center of ‘Hollywood Taxi.’

— T.L. Stanley