Imagine if a Tour de France peloton comprised of celebrities and athletes crashed into a spaceship piloted by William Shatner, which then crashed into a film crew looking to make a Survivor-style reality TV show.
If you can wrap your brain around that, you’re halfway to understanding Stars on Mars: A new reality show premiering on Fox on June 5. If you’re asking yourself why you’re reading about such a thing on BikeRumor!, it’s because one of the show’s contestants is Lance Armstrong.
It goes without saying that the 51-year-old former professional cyclist who famously won seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1998 and 2005 has led a checkered professional career.
And unfortunately for all the people he inspired through not only his cycling success but also his cancer survival, he fell hard. In 2012, a United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation found that Armstrong was a part of “the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that [professional cycling] has ever seen.”
As you’ll recall, all seven of Armstrong’s Tour de France titles and one Olympic medal were stripped. The Texan maintained his innocence until finally admitting to doping in 2013.
For those who harbor recreational interests other than cycling, Armstrong may or may not be the headlining celeb of Stars on Mars. The “former professional road-racing cyclist and investor,” as the show’s press materials refer to him, will join other retired icons like NFL running back Marshawn Lynch and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey on set. Natasha Leggero, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Adam Rippon, Tom Schwartz, Richard Sherman, Tinashe, Porsha Williams Guobadia, Tallulah Willis, and Ariel Winter round out the Fox show’s roster.
The contestants will “live, eat, sleep, strategize and bond with each other in the same [simulated] space station,” the press release reads.
According to promotional materials, the show appears to be roughly based on a tried-and-true reality TV formula: the “crew” will live together in close confines while competing “missions” assigned to them by fictional starship captain and surprisingly decent singer/songwriter (when he collabs with Ben Folds) William Shatner. The contestants will vote one crew member “back to Earth,” each week.
The voting component necessitates “stellar social skills,” which could spell trouble for Armstrong — a man with a long track record of allegedly bullying and humiliating teammates and employees.
If he runs foul, he’d better steer clear of Rousey. On the other hand, maybe the skills Armstrong cultivated in his years of lying about doping are exactly what you need to win a reality TV show contest.