Ted Williams: The ultimate reality TV story

Every once in a while life really does imitate art, and we needn’t look any further than Ted Williams — the homeless man with the golden voice — whose life is unfolding before our very eyes like Jim Carrey’s character in the movie The Truman Show.

Fortunately for the fictional Truman Burbank, his story did have a happy ending. But many of us watch with bated breath to see how the Ted Williams fairy tale will end. Williams’ life has transpired like the realest of reality shows. He has gone from begging for money and work on an Ohio street corner to making appearances all over television. He was the Hollywood story everybody wanted to follow.

TV viewers flocked to this romantic tale of the down-on-his-luck man who was blessed with a voice from God. And he was more than happy to oblige. Sporting a short haircut, a fresh shave and some new clothes, he told his heartwarming story to all who would listen. He appeared via satellite on CBS’ The Early Show, chatted in person with Matt and Meredith on The Today Show, rubbed elbows with Jimmy Fallon, spilled his beans to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, and allowed Access Hollywood to be there when he was reunited with his 90-year-old mother after many years.

Meanwhile, offers were coming in left and right. He was hired by MSNBC to do voiceovers, he has already voiced a commercial for Kraft, and the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NFL have courted him for jobs. Everything seemed like it couldn’t be better until Ted Williams agreed to appear on Dr. Phil McGraw’s show to address his historic bouts with drugs and alcohol, as well as the nine kids he admittedly abandoned.

All of a sudden this reality story went from the uplifting Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to the very serious Intervention. Dr. Phil not only grilled Williams on whether he was lying about being sober (he was), but he confronted him with his past by bringing in his ex-wife and several of his grown children. In between the filming on the three shows McGraw dedicated to Williams, Williams was taken into police custody after getting into an argument with one of his daughters.

All of this unfolded in front of our very eyes, and it was about to get more serious. Dr. Phil told Williams on national TV that he desperately need to enter a rehabilitation center to address his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He also needed psychological therapy to deal with the dramatic lifestyle change. Williams reluctantly agreed to enter a facility in Texas, but he prematurely left this week after being there for less than two weeks.

Nobody knows how the Ted Williams story will end, but many of us will be rooting for him. He was brought into our lives via YouTube and television, and I know I will be tuning in to see if his ending is as happy as that of Truman Burbank’s.