Dhani was definitely excited about getting the Twitter handle, @InTheZone. However, I know he’s more excited about the pilot of an idea that started over three years ago, which has now evolved into a show.
“In The Zone with Dhani Jones” debuted as a segment on Cincinnati’s CBS Local 12 station in September 2009. The concept was derived from an idea that would have Dhani interview teammates about everything BUT football…Larry King style.
So we pitched the idea to the Bengals, and they liked it. Dhani interviewed 17 people that year, including teammates such as Keith Rivers, Carson Palmer, and Cedric Benson. As the show progressed, we moved on to interview CEO’s in the community such as A.G. Lafley of Proctor & Gamble, Bob Sullivan of Fifth Third Bank, and Fernando Aguirre of Chiquita.
Dhani and A.G. Lafley on the set of In The Zone in 2009
All in all, it was a very successful first season, so we did it again during the 2010 season and it got even better, branching out to interview people like Ohio’s Governor, Ted Strickland and Cincinnati’s own Nick Lachey. The admirable thing to me was to see Dhani doing all this on his off-day, which is every Tuesday in the NFL. He felt that it was a day to seize opportunity outside the game of football, pushing himself to be more than a football player…even during the season.
The final product ended up being an avenue to connect viewers with the real life personality of a public figure. Whether a high profile NFL athlete, a high powered CEO, or a politician…the goal of ”In The Zone” was to uncover the passion and purpose of each guest. In essence, creating an uncommon conversation.
Here we are three years later with another progression of “In The Zone”, which will include some parody in addition to the passion and purpose. It will also feature local music and food to highlight the community…all taking place with a live audience where it first began, at Paul Brown Stadium.
What started as a segment has now become a show. The glaring difference will be the “studio”. Instead of a green screen, there will be a big RV with a familiar face…and a BowTie of course!