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CBS producer sees Maybin as 'hitting it out of park' after NFL career

Leftovers before the Thanksgiving holiday:

Former Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft choice Aaron Maybin was originally reluctant to do the Thanksgiving feature that will air on “The NFL Today” on the noon program Thursday carried on WIVB-TV (Channel 4) before the Chicago-Detroit game.

“Aaron had some trepidation about doing it,” explained producer Charlie Bloom in a telephone interview.

Bloom said he is fortunate that he can put potential Thanksgiving feature subjects in contact with the athletes he has worked with on stories in the past.

“I don’t know if he contacted the people I gave him, but he did decide to do it,” said Bloom.

The result is a feature called “Walking the Walk” that details Maybin’s work as an art and literacy teacher three days a week in his hometown of Baltimore.

Bloom said he ranks the story “pretty high” among the 17 Thanksgiving features he has done in 21 years.

“Sometimes we have an idea of someone and we don’t really know much about him,” said Bloom. “As we touch upon in the piece, people have already made up their minds who Aaron Maybin is. And watching this piece that is not the guy at all… He’s an accomplished artist, he sells his paintings, he has published books.”

Some of Aaron Maybin's artwork from his Baltimore, Md., home, in 2015. (James P. McCoy/News file photo)

And then there’s the work Maybin does with students in pre-K through fifth grade near his Baltimore home. Bloom said Maybin gets his students to “think differently and more actively.”

The title of the segment comes from Maybin’s walk to school.

“He lives in a slightly privilege neighborhood,” said Bloom. “He walks to school where he teaches -- which is not that far away -- to remind him what his kids are seeing and feeling as they walk to school in an effort to get him in the right mindset each day. The neighborhood is not the best as we follow him.”

When Maybin began teaching at the school about a year ago, it had no heat.  Bloom said within eight hours Maybin had the boiler fixed and professional athletes sent coats to the school.

“He said, ‘if I wasn’t a first-round pick, people wouldn’t be listening to me, either,’” said Bloom “He is not just showing up in class, he is trying to make a change.”

Maybin’s days as a Bill viewed as a 2009 draft bust, followed by his days as a New York Jets are addressed only briefly.

“It is really about how the kids address it to him,” said Bloom. “They ask why he gave up football.”

Bloom hopes viewers come away with an important message.

“Sometimes when you make a judgment on someone you don’t know the true depth of what they are really able to offer. People probably expected more out of him in football, but he is really knocking it out of the park when it comes to helping in life.”

Mini-review: If you have Netflix and free time during this long holiday weekend, I highly recommend “The Kominsky Method,” the new comedy starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin that is created by prolific writer-producer Chuck Lorre.

Lorre is best known as the creator and producer of several popular sitcoms, including “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom” and “Young Sheldon.”

Amusingly, the eight-part series takes an early self-deprecating shot at “Big Bang” and network comedies.

The series also has a local angle. Nick Bakay, the Buffalo writer-producer who is one of the showrunners of “Mom,” is a consulting producer on “The Kominsky Method.”

Douglas plays an acting coach, Sandy Kominsky, whose acting career doesn’t go as well as he hoped. Arkin plays his agent and best friend, Norman Newlander, who he blames for his career disappointment and who is dealing with the death of his loving wife.

Think of it as a cross between “The Odd Couple” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” with a heavy dose of bathroom humor. Some would say too heavy a dose. Not me.

Neither character is particularly likable, though Douglas brings a certain charm to every character he plays. At times, they even make Larry David in “Curb” seem more likable.

But their love for each other shines through and much of the talk about how their aging bodies and minds are deteriorating had me howling in recognition.

It isn’t for everyone, but I certainly fit in the right demographic. But judging by my girlfriend watching with me, some women will enjoy it, too.

Nancy Travis is on board as one of Kominsky’s students and a love interest. Susan Sullivan plays Norman’s wife, who speaks to him and advises him after her death. And, yes, that is really Ann-Margret as a widow interested in Norman. Danny DeVito shows up in a few episodes as a urologist who thinks he is a comedian. I laughed just writing that sentence.

With each episode under 30 minutes, you can easily watch the entire series in under four hours and come away wishing there had been more episodes. And how often does that happen in TV?

The End is Near: I’m talking about the November sweeps. Wednesday is the final night of the 28-day exercise that is becoming less important now that Nielsen measures audiences monthly.

With two days left, WIVB-TV (Channel 4) seems to be poised to be the winner in the local news competition over WGRZ-TV (Channel 2). So you’ll probably quickly see new Channel 4 promos trumpeting the station’s success story.


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