The First Wives Club: Spouses Of Packers Players Star In New Show "The Better Half"
Having football on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays is not enough for Packers fans in Wisconsin, as a new program airing Friday nights throughout the state focuses on players’ wives. “The Better Half” is a 60-minute show that features Courtney Finley (wife of TE Jermichael Finley), Betina Driver (wife of WR Donald Driver) and Geeta Bishop (wife of LB Desmond Bishop), along with WLUK-Fox’ Rachel Manek. The program, which show creator Brian Lammi described as a mix between “The View” and “The Chew,” is produced by WLUK, Fox’ Green Bay affiliate. It airs mainly on Fox affiliates in the state, though it has been picked up by at least one CBS station. Kwik Trip serves as the show's presenting sponsor, while Wendy's, Menards, the Wisconsin Dental Association and Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin have signed on to air adds during the broadcasts. Lammi stressed the show is not a precursor to “The Real Housewives of Green Bay.” “There are no reality TV elements and no drama,” he said, “just an interesting look at these wives’ lives focused on family, food, fashion, fun and giving back to the community.” After the taping of four episodes, nine Packers wives have been on the show. Lammi said one of the largest challenges was “thinking about what content would best appeal to the female demo that we certainly are not used to producing television shows for.” Still, the show has brought immense attention to the stations airing it. Lammi said “The Better Half” has generated the most hits to WLUK’s website “other than when the Packers where in the Super Bowl two years ago.”
ONTO THE NEXT ONE: Lammi hopes to run 16 episodes of “The Better Half” in tandem with the NFL season. Should the Packers make the playoffs, the wives will not be expected to make a postseason encore. Lammi said, “Because so many wives are not living in Green Bay year-long, we plan on it pretty much ending at the end of December. So we’ll go through the remainder of this calendar year, and then we plan on starting up again next fall closer to when the season starts again.” He noted ratings for the show have been hard to gauge because of the small markets. “It’s a little bit tough to say in Wisconsin because you only get overnights in Milwaukee. So we’ll have sweeps coming up in November, and then we’ll have a better idea we think of what our true viewership levels are.” He also hopes to expand the reach of “The Better Half” outside the Wisconsin state border. “We thought about expanding for next season and seeing what kind of wider distribution we might be able to figure out,” Lammi said. He is making the foray into women television after debuting shows such as “One on One with Ryan Braun,” “Inside The Huddle” and “Green Bay Nation” through Lammi Sports Management.
THE FINAL SAY: Lammi said he wanted the Packers and the NFL “to be aware of the concept” during development, but since the show is not particularly about sports, he is not “looking to utilize logos or NFL Films footage.” He added, “We’re really looking at this as a separate project that the wives can feel good about telling their stories and sharing their experiences, rather than being really a true sports show. It’s really been a separate property from the Green Bay Packers.” A Packers spokesperson said that the team was contacted during development and made aware of the show, but the Packers have no involvement or input into the content aired. The team also is not able to track a spike in women’s sales nor interest through increased web traffic thus far.