Courtesy photo: E! Entertainment In a scene from Sunday’s “Baskett Cases” episode of “Kendra,” Kendra Wilkinson, left, and Hank Baskett drive through Clovis.
By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Hank Baskett’s busiest offseason as an NFL player isn’t nearly over yet.
He had his salary tripled in April with a one-year, $1.545 million tender offer from the Philadelphia Eagles. He officially became a reality television show star this month, and he’ll be married to former Playboy model and “Girls Next Door” star Kendra Wilkinson by the end of the month.
And as the 2001 Clovis High grad attempts to help the Eagles gain their third playoff berth in four seasons with the team, he and Wilkinson expect their first child around Christmas.
“We feel good,” said his father, Hank Baskett Jr. “He is happy, and we support his happiness.”
“Kendra,” which follows Wilkinson and Baskett as they prepare for married life, debuted June 7 to the tune of 2.6 million viewers — the highest-rated series debut for E! since “The Anna Nicole Show” premiered in 2002.
Episode 3, “Baskett Cases,” debuts Sunday night.
In the episode, the couple visits Clovis and Wilkinson visits her future in-laws. The shows display the culture clashes bound to happen with Wilkinson’s celebrity stature and Baskett’s conservative upbringing in Clovis.
“Hank is attracted to Kendra’s spontaneous side, and they share a lot of laughs,” his bio on the show’s Web site says, “but he’s also looking for signs that she’s ready to be his partner and his wife.”
Interest for the show is likely to continue with Wilkinson’s pregnancy, and the couple’s June 27 wedding at the Playboy Mansion.
Baskett, who could not be reached for comment, has insisted the event will be a wedding and not a party.
Wilkson confirmed her pregnancy, which is 12 weeks along, in a blog post last week on her Web site, kendrawilkinson.com
“I honestly still can’t believe that soon Hank and I are going to have a little athlete running around the house,” said Wilkinson, who played softball at Clairemont High School in San Diego.
The couple told E! reporter Marc Malkin they’d name a boy Hank Randall Baskett IV and would go with Arianna or Kianna for a girl.
Both parties are excited for the baby, with a Christmas due date.
“Being a loving husband and father is what I’ve always described as the definition of a successful man,” Baskett told Malkin.
When asked about the show, the elder Baskett simply laughed and said he can’t control what is shown for entertainment. And Judy Baskett, Hank’s mother, said the majority of shows on TV had objectionable content before “Kendra” ever aired.
The elder Baskett said he got a call recently from a friend who was in El Paso. The friend called him because he saw a picture of the younger Baskett visiting a child in a hospital. Those acts, and the charity done on behalf of Oasis Children’s Advocacy Center, are what satisfies him most about his son’s adulthood.
He’s not concerned that people may shy away from booking his son for appearances because he’s marrying somebody largely famous through nude modeling.
“They have a choice,” the elder Baskett said. “If they don’t want to (spread awareness about) child abuse because of that, that’s their choice. I’ll always love them, though.”
The elder Baskett has said what happens on the show is mostly about Kendra, and what happens on the field is about his son. And the couple knows not to mess with that.
In a February interview with the CNJ, the younger Baskett said he’s got to stay focused on the field because the Eagles can cut him any time and not pay him any of the $1.545 million in his contract.
“A tender offer doesn’t guarantee a roster spot,” he said. “I’ve still got to prove myself.”