Before moving to Nashville and launching KEEP THE FAITH Radio with Joe Battaglia and John Frost, David Sams had a storied career in Hollywood. He launched WHEEL OF FORTUNE, JEOPARDY! and the OPRAH show; produced over 3,500 hours of TV, and won 9 Emmys. One of the many shows that he created was ROLLERGAMES–sort of Roller Derby meets “The Running Man.” As a kid, Sams grew up watching banked-track roller derby on TV in Ohio, so when he got to Hollywood he decided to combine high-octane skating with the theatrics of wrestling. He and his partner, Mike Miller, replaced the oval track with a Figure 8 track, a 14 foot “wall of death,” “sky jump,” and “live alligator pit.” That’s right, a water swamp with live alligators! The use of the alligators was controversial. Whenever a game ended in a tie, the objective was to knock the opponent into the live alligator pit to earn the game-winning extra point. David Says, “we brought new meaning to the term SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME!” Ironically, David not only served as Executive Producer and Producer, he was also the color commentator.
Newspapers coined the show “the beginning of CRASH TV and the END OF THE WESTERN CIVILIZATION!” While the series only lasted one year, it developed a cult following online with hundreds of YouTube videos posted and millions of plays.
So, when the COVID-19 hit, FOX SPORTS and the producers teamed up to put ROLLERGAMES back on the air in prime time. “I decided to convert the show from the old standard definition format to 16×9 HD. It really brought it to life. It almost looks like it was produced in this century!,” Sams laughs. “I also decided to go in and replace some of my liners. It was so much fun to play my character all over again from 30 years ago. I got to put on my voice acting hat and match my vocal chords of today with those of 1989! The pandemic gave me the opportunity to be a kid again!”
Since the early days of the pandemic lockdown, Sams says that he has pivoted to meet the new realities he and so many in our Industry face. “The pandemic put a lot of us into a state of isolation. I have not been on a plane or stepped into a restaurant in some five months. That being said, without distractions in my way, God got me laser focused. We took Keep The Faith Radio to a new level; we relaunched our KeepTheFaith.com website; we just completed our first Keep The Faith TV commercials; I got a show on FOX SPORTS in prime time; and I decided to walk no less than five miles a day to work of my anxieties. Next week I will hit 600 miles since COVID-19 began. So, pivoting has been nothing short of miraculous.”
FOX SPORTS will air ROLLERGAMES throughout the rest of the year on both FS1 and FS2. Many weekends, it will air on Saturday nights on FS2 at 10 Eastern/9 Central/7 Pacific. On Sunday nights it will air on FS1. Check your TV listings.