Image Credit: VH1Chad Ochocinco may be best known for his skills on the field as a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, but earlier this year, his appearance on Dancing With the Stars introduced the non-sports fans (they do exist!) to the football player’s wild personality. He might not have won the coveted mirror ball trophy — he placed fourth with partner Cheryl Burke — but that didn’t deter him from reality TV.
Tonight, at 9 p.m. ET, Ochocinco will head back to the small screen, this time looking for love in his new VH1 reality show, Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch. (The football star, who wears the number 85 on his back, begins his quest tonight with 85 women from all over the country.) Ochocinco wouldn’t give out any spoilers, but he said everyone can relate to his new show — even his football fans who might be skeptical of a dating show. “People know me when it comes to football. To be able to see me in a different light is what makes it interesting,” he says. Ochocinco took some time to tell us about the show and his dating style.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did the concept for your show come from?
CHAD OCHOCINCO: I’m not exactly sure how the concept came up. But when the idea was brought to me, I felt that it was a good opportunity to try something different. And since my traditional way of dating has failed me tremendously throughout my wonderful life, I thought ‘Why not?’ Why not try my hand at something different, and see if I can find that one out of 85? And it’s been awesome. When I say awesome, I mean awesome.
How involved were you in the development of the show?
This is just my first rodeo. I don’t need to be jumping into something like that, trying to create and trying to add input. All I wanted was to be me. I’m not doing anything that’s scripted, and the things I’m going to do are going to come off as if there were no cameras rolling. So what you’re getting, what you’re seeing is my normal day-to-day life when I’m interacting with females. So what you see is exactly how I really am.
How is The Ultimate Catch different from other dating shows?
It’s real. That’s it. What you see is what you get. There’s no façade. This is really what I do. I really get down like this in real life.
What was it like looking for love on TV?
I’ve never done anything like this before. Ever. So it’s been fun. There’s a whole process of getting to know all the girls in such a short time. And you know why I really like it? Because it has disciplined me in doing it the right way. I have never given a woman the opportunity to really get to know who Chad is. Never. I never opened up to anybody to express how I feel about them. Everything before was superficial. “I’m Chad. You’re beautiful. Let’s do this.” This whole process I’ve done it the right way, which is why I know it’s going to work. It has no choice but to work, because I’ve approached it the way I should have been approaching dating all my life but never did.
Was it hard to narrow down the women?
It was easy. It allowed me to be me. I had 85 women here. I have to go off my judgment. It might be right, it might be wrong. But when you’re dealing with that many people at one time, there’s only so much you can go off of. Right now, of course the physical appearance would have to attract me first. You know that. That’s just dating. Who did I feel would look best on my hip for years to come? And that’s what I had to do.
What word best describes your personality?
Holy sh–. I’m fun and unpredictable. I’m energetic, and you never know what you’re going to get. It’s like rolling dice. You can never guess the number right every single time.
What’s your romantic style like?
My romantic style is extremely flashy, like it’s always been. Some people do it low-key and quiet. But I’m very outgoing when it comes to stuff like that.
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done for a woman?
Oh my goodness. I’ve done all kinds of crazy stuff. The most outrageous? I have no idea. If you saw the stuff I did…who knows? Everything I do is outrageous.
What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I’m cool. Everybody thinks I’m cocky and arrogant. But I’m really cool. Really down to earth. I’m approachable. I’m a people person. I like to have fun. I think the perception on me might have me in a light that I’m an a–hole. But hell no, I’m not.