By James Hooper
February 03, 2008 12:00am
AUSTRALIAN Open queen Maria Sharapova has looks made for Hollywood - now the glamorous starlet wants to create a US television drama based around life on the professional tennis circuit.
Forget Mark Philippoussis's tacky foray into reality television, Sharapova's dream revolves around a tell-all insight into the cut-throat world of tennis stardom.
The Sunday Telegraph understands that Sharapova's agent Max Eisenbud wants to hold preliminary discussions with major US networks.
But the IMG Tennis vice-president was swift to try to water down the potential blockbuster yesterday, citing the current US writers strike as an obstacle.
"Way too early, TV strike, email me in a few months,'' Eisenbud said.
Celebrity agent Max Markson and Australian television powerbrokers Brian Walsh and Steve Crawley all suggested Sharapova's star power alone would make the show an instant hit.
Never one to shy away from centre stage, Sharapova's concept is understood to mirror the hit cable TV show Entourage.
Starring Adrian Grenier, Entourage is a comical insight into the fast-lane lifestyle of Hollywood's A-list produced by actor Mark Wahlberg.
The concept behind the show involves Wahlberg drawing on his numerous entertaining experiences behind-the-scenes in the volatile playground of Hollywood's rich and famous.
Under Sharapova's vision, the Australian Open tennis champion would be involved in penning and producing the show but would refrain from starring in it.
"It's got legs that are better than Maria Sharapova's,'' Markson said.
"It's an exciting concept. The same as people want to see what's happening behind the scenes in Hollywood, people would love to see what's going on behind the scenes in sport.
"The opportunity to do a show like that for tennis are limitless. It could be screened all around the world.
"It just sounds like fantastic fun.''
Potential episodes could cover a variety of topics including crazy parents, behind-the-scenes cat fights, lavish international lifestyles and A-list parties.
Foxtel executive director of television Walsh described the potential project as tailor made for pay television.
"If it was a project that came to fruition Foxtel would be ideally placed to acquire it given the expansive range of general entertainment channels we have,'' Walsh said.
"From the sounds of things, it would make great viewing and it's certainly the type of project that we would be very interested in.''
But Channel Nine head of sport Steve Crawley warned Sharapova the world of television production is no easy caper.
"Maria Sharapova's a ratings success so if the production team's a success, she's a star,'' Crawley said.
"But she's a tennis player. I think the idea's good and she's a star, but you do what you do best and she doesn't understand television.
"If she wanted to work behind the scenes I don't understand that.''
I'd pop some popcorn, grab a cold one, sit back and enjoy!