Four olympic gold medals, a New York Times best-selling book, and over $36 million in prize money doesn’t seem to be enough for tennis star Venus Williams. According to Deadline, Williams is making a segway into television, and is now developing a unscripted competition series for women entrepreneurs who want funding to pursue their dream business. Williams will appear in the series, as well as executive produce. 3 Ball, the production company behind Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, NBC’s The Biggest Loser and CW’s Beauty and the Geek, will produce. Todd A. Nelson, Ross Weintraub and DJ Nurre, executives from 3 Ball, will executive produce. The working title for the unscripted series is Deals in Heels.
In each episode, five female entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas for a start-up company. Two of the five women will move on to the ‘executive suite’, where the panel will hear more about their projects. They then receive mentorship to further develop their business plans. One month later, both will pitch once again, but only one will receive financial backing.
The series will be produced by Staness Jonekos, as well as Deborah Perry Piscone. Jonekos, is an award-winning television writer/producer/director, and was one of the original executive producers who launched the television network Oxygen Media, co-founded by Oprah Winfrey. She also wrote books Eat Like a Woman and The Menopause Makeover. Piscone is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and founder of BettyConfidential, an online magazine for female entrepreneurs. She is author of Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World and Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face.
Venus Williams said the following about the new series:
As an advocate for gender and pay equality, I’m thrilled to be working with 3 Ball Entertainment on this project that fosters and supports trailblazing women who are actively pursuing their professional aspirations.
The 36 year-old celebrity athlete has been playing tennis professionally since she was 14. She is currently ranked #11 in the world, but has reached #1 at three points in her career, and won seven Grand Slam singles titles. Her sister Serena Williams and her are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals.
Outside of her athletic career, Williams achieved her associates degree in fashion design and a bachelors degree in business administration. She released first book, Come to Win; Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession in June 2010, which she co-wrote with Kelly E. Carter, which got onto the New York Times Bestseller List. Williams hopes that in the future she can achieve her MBA.
DJ Nurre, 3 Ball EVP of Programming and Development, said the following:
From sports and fashion to publishing and social activism, there is not an arena Venus Williams hasn’t conquered. Teaming with the mega-successful Staness Jonekos and Deborah Perry Piscone, we’re confident these women can deliver both a powerful perspective and tangible results, helping to empower and inspire a new wave of entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned for more news about Venus Williams’ upcoming series, and see if Deals in Heels gets picked up by a network.