A young film producer with roots in Abbotsford hopes to find investors on CBC's Dragons' Den this Wednesday with a pitch to take his quirky fight show, Gotta Grudge, to the next level.
The reality grudge match is Tim McWhinney's brainchild, in which regular people with extraordinary grudges are willing to settle their scores face to face in a professional boxing ring in front of real audiences.
It's not exactly high brow stuff - "It's Jerry Springer meets Wipe Out," admits McWhinney - but it's a lot of fun, he insists.
"It's not set up at all. These are average, everyday people. We've had women fighting, we've had 55-year-old guys with big bellies," he said.
However, the boxing ring is professionally set up, complete with ring girls and real officials, with audiences of 1,500 to 2,000 people. The on-going commentary adds even more colour.
McWhinney, 33, began nurturing the idea about six years ago, and shot the first season two years ago at local venues, the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and in the Ag-Rec building at Exhibition Park.
To date, the episodes have been broadcast 700 times in the past year and a half on Score Network and have also been seen on Fight Network, he said. The grudge fights have been seen in 30 countries. McWhinney hopes to rebrand the program and take it into the United States. Which led him to the request from the Dragons. He qualified to take his pitch to the Dragons' lair in the spring, and recently learned it would air on Oct. 24.
The experience was nerve-wracking and included going "head to head" with Kevin O'Leary, he said, but was in the end a positive experience.
"They were all very pleasant. It's not at all rigged. You really just have your five minutes to make your pitch."
McWhinney can't tell us the outcome, but he did say "it went very well."
To find out, watch CBC at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Find out more about McWhinney's enterprise at www.igottagrudge.com.