Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design



Football star tackles new challenge in tame reality show.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show centers on design, but it also positively highlights Johnson’s career change from athlete to designer. Professionalism and pleasing the client are important to the team. The staff and clients are a diverse bunch.

Positive role models

Johnson isn't always the smoothest, but he's polite and professional and shows that it's possible to start a new career later in life.


Occasional disagreements and playful swats between the design team.


Very occasional, mild references to designs looking "sexy."


Words like “idiot” are occasionally audible. Johnson’s other salty phrases are uttered off camera and are fully bleeped.


The show is a promotional vehicle for Johnson and his new design business. Various flooring, furniture, and design companies are featured and mentioned by name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Johnson uses expressions like “you can’t drink champagne with beer money." Bars are built in some spaces; design conversations occasionally touch on topics like where to put drinks during social events.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which follows former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson in his new career as an interior designer -- is pretty mild, though there are a few bleeped curse words (uttered off screen) and an obvious focus on consumer goods used to redecorate houses. There are also a few references to alcohol. Kids aren't likely to find the show particularly compelling, but adults who like this sort of thing will probably enjoy it.

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What's the story?

KEYSHAWN JOHNSON: TACKLING DESIGN follows the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver as he builds a new career as an interior designer. The former NFL star exchanges pigskin and helmet for fabric and hardwood as he works to bring fresh designs into clients' living spaces. Outspoken and opinionated, he designs the spaces himself and then works with assistants Sabina Vavra and Baiyina Hugley and interns Chelsea Hernandez and Edward Larsen to complete the job. Johnson then reveals the final product to his clients, hoping that they'll love it.

Is it any good?


This lighthearted series stands out from other design shows thanks to its use of football metaphors -- like “scouting” a space -- to define each step of the design process. Meanwhile, Johnson's occasional lack of finesse when it comes to sharing his opinions with his clients leads to some funny -- albeit awkward -- moments.

As with many designers on TV, there are times when Johnson tries to put his clients’ preferences to the side, especially when they differ with his own aesthetic. But he's clear about the importance of being polite and professional and ultimately satisfying his clients. And because he seems happy and confident in his new career, it's hard not to be happy for him.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes interior designers "TV worthy." Do you think Johnson got a show because he's a good designer, because he's a former NFL player, or both? Do you consider him a good role model?

  • Families can also discuss the challenges of succeeding in a new career after already being successful in an earlier one. How do expectations affect your own happiness and others'?

TV details

Cast:Edward Larsen, Keyshawn Johnson, Sabina Vavra
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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