Premiering this past Sunday on E! television channel, What Would Ryan Lochte Do? is Ryan’s latest project out of the pool. But the questions I’ve been asked by friends (and beginning to ask myself) “Is What Would Ryan Lochte Do? good for the sport of swimming” and “Is Ryan Lochte the best person to represent the sport?” Originally my response to both has been a resounding “NO!” Yet over time, Lochte has won me over.
Ryan is no rookie to the small screen, but that doesn’t make him a professional (or even good) actor. His credits include: cameos on 90210 and 30 Rock, interviews with everyone from local news outlets to Live with Kelly, and making the rounds on the late night talk shows (Letterman to Fallon). He has even been parodied by Seth McFarlin on Saturday Night Live.
His latest media blitz has been to promote the new show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? yet even with all interview coaching I’m sure the higher ups at E! have provided for him, Lochte has still managed to muck up things. Last week, a TV interview went viral with a Philadelphia news team breaking out into laughter after speaking with Lochte. OK, I know it’s unprofessional of the new anchors to laugh like that, but come on…he set them up.
BUT, and I can’t emphasize that enough, Ryan Lochte has done something that even Michael Phelps failed to accomplished: Ryan has kept the sport of swimming in the spotlight during non-Olympic year. Swimming is consistently the most or second-most watched sporting event during the summer Olympic Games. During the 2012 London Olympics, swimming was the most watched Olympic sport – thanks to Michael Phelps and…yep Ryan Lochte. Yet historically after the Olympics, swimming fails to make even a blip of news to the general public.
Ryan has consistently stated his personal goal for the show is to “…bring [the sport of] swimming into everyone’s living room, so bringing swimming awareness.” Only time will tell if the show will be a success. The show premiered to a larger audience that E!’s reality juggernaut show about the Kardashians. Additionally the blog-o-sphere has blown up talking about the show. If you Google his name there are over 133 million results; with hundreds of thousands of publications within the past seven days. Even with reviews ranging from “good fun” to scathing comments; as the old adage goes: “any press is good press”, and by that account Ryan Lochte has already succeeded in bringing swimming into your living room and daily conversations.
For those interested, What Would Ryan Lochte Do? airs Sundays at 10pm on E!