Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leader is hoping for one more — in the form of a TV show. EW has learned that TLC has begun production on a reality series starring Pete Rose, the polarizing 17-time All-Star who was banned from his beloved sport for gambling on games while he was a manager for the Cincinnati Reds.
With a working title of Pete Rose and Kiana Kim Family Project, the show will follow the 71-year-old Rose and his thirtysomething model fiancée Kiana Kim (who has posed for Playboy) through their daily lives as they try to blend their families. There are some challenges along the way. A few family members are apprehensive about the relationship. And while Rose is based in Las Vegas (where he signs baseball memorabilia) or is on the road making public appearances, Kim and her two children live in Los Angeles. “She’s got younger kids and I’ve got [four adult] kids, and we go through the same things everybody else does: taking the braces off, making sure they get their education and they go to basketball practice or acting class,” Rose tells EW, adding: “It’s not going to be classless — like it seems like a lot of reality shows aren’t really reality, but our reality show is going to be funny, entertaining, and real.”
The cameras will trail them through such events as Rose taking the family to visit the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, to Kim getting a breast reduction. “We’re not a traditional family,” says Kim. “We are a total modern-day family, mixing the cultures, the ages, the different backgrounds together. I didn’t even know who Pete Rose was when I first met him. It’s kind of a crazy story, but at the core of every family is love and it’s what TLC wants to show.” Quips Rose: “We’re just a normal family with 4,200 hits.”
Rose says that the show will afford him the opportunity to clear up misconceptions that he believes the public has about him. “People will get a chance to see what kind of personality I have — and she has,” he says. ” I think the majority of people who don’t know me look at me as a very aggressive person. I see that in the autograph world all the time. People come in and they’re scared to say hi. I’m not going to do anything unless you try to strike me out or make a double play. When I took the cleats off, I was a down-to-earth nice guy. I don’t talk down to nobody or up to anybody. I talk to them.”
Will this series also chronicle Rose’s mission to get reinstated into baseball, so he can be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame? “If the commissioner [Bud Selig] ever finds it in its heart to give me a second chance, I’m sure that we’ll address that,” he says. “But if I ever make the Hall of Fame, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world because I understand what it means. But I’m not just going to sit here on pins and needles. I’m not in the Hall of Fame because I screwed up. It’s not Bud’s fault. It’s not [former commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti’s] fault. It’s not Mike Schmidt’s fault or Johnny Bench’s fault. I’m the one who screwed up. And if I’m ever given a second chance, all I can tell you is: I won’t need a third.”
TLC is planning to air five episodes of the show later this year.