Black TV Watch: Rooting for a Cheater?

A sports scandal gets the ESPN doc treatment. Plus: Keyshia Cole and her hubby show their love.

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ESPN

(The Root) -- It's not easy to find sympathy for a disgraced Olympic runner, but a new ESPN documentary manages to portray Ben Johnson as an amicable figure. Plus, R&B diva Keyshia Cole leans on her solid soulmate in the couple's new reality show on BET.

9.79* (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET; ESPN)

"I just had some fear in me, so I didn't want to fail." --Ben Johnson

Highlight: Though Canadian sprinter Johnson made history winning the men's 100-meter final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics with a time of 9.79 seconds, his record time is not etched in track-history books. That's because within two days of the win, Johnson tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. American Carl Lewis was later awarded the gold medal. The irony is that six of Johnson's eight opponents have since been linked to PED use, but none were ever publicly disgraced like Johnson.

This  documentary, in ESPN's 30 for 30 series, directed by Daniel Gordon, does a great job of portraying the runner as a likable character and his rival Lewis as a self-righteous winner. Viewers come away with a whole new perspective on one of sport's biggest scandals.

 

Keyshia & Daniel: Family First (Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET; BET)

"I knew that when Frankie got in the mix with my family, she was going to feel right at home, 'cause my family's like that." --Daniel

Highlight: This is not the first time Cole has had a reality show, but this new BET program might shape up to be better than 2003's Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is. Fans might remember the awesome display of ratchetness that was her first show -- her mother Frankie's cradle-robbing, drug-addicted ways and her sister's basketball team of crying kids. But now Keyshia's all grown up. She's getting ready to marry NBA baller Daniel Gibson. And in this episode, we're introduced to her adorable son, DJ, and she seems to be drama-free. (*Side-eye.*) But in all seriousness, if the new Keyshia Cole is happy and drama-free, we're happy, too. Here we see what a steadying influence Gibson has been for her, even as he deals with the loss of his grandmother.

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July 29 2014 2:13 PM