Four pop culture titans tour Asia

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Hilarity ensues in ‘Better Late Than Never’

By Lori Acken

Henry Winkler and William Shatner are sitting on a bus in Thailand, watching George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw sing karaoke duets.

No, it’s not the start of an epic joke. Or the kind of post-bender dream that makes you wonder if you should surrender the sauce entirely or indulge more often. It’s just one of the excellent adventures the four legends of sports and entertainment tackle together in NBC’s new Winkler-coproduced series Better Late Than Never, premiering Tuesday, August 23rd.

Inspired by the Korean reality smash Grandpas Over Flowers (that’s not a joke either), the show features the quartet — plus comic Jeff Dye, who serves as their bellhop, chauffeur, instigator and whipping boy — embarking on a 35-day trip through Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Hong Kong, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Getting to know each other as they embrace—and sometimes not — the local culture, cuisine and people, the gents show off facets and funny bones that might surprise even ardent fans.

“It was delicious,” beams Winkler, who helped select his travel mates. “It was from 7:30 in the morning until 10 at night. It was traveling with 100 people and 300 suitcases. It was exotic, it was eye-opening, it was beautiful, it was strenuous—it was a gift that fell out of the heavens!” While the men immersed themselves in the wonders of each locale and all the culture-shock comedy that resulted, Winkler says their most treasured moments came, sometimes literally, at the hands of their fellow travelers. “An unbelievable moment in my life, let alone this trip, is I caught a pass from the great Terry Bradshaw,” Winkler says. “I still am about 12 years old and giddy at the fact that I dropped seven footballs—and then I caught the football. Terry was genuinely excited, and that made me feel like a million dollars.” As did one of the local residents — one with four legs and the kind of trunk you don’t pack. “In Thailand, not only did I meet William Shatner and George Foreman, Terry and Jeff Dye, I met a 15,000-pound elephant leaning into me like he was a puppy, and I started to cry. I thought—outside of my family—this might be one of the great moments of my entire existence on the planet.” One of many he can’t wait to share with viewers.

“Watching Better Late Than Never will cure the common cold,” Winkler promises. “It’s so important to your health that it’s a must!”

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