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October 7, 2015

ESPN gets the greenlight to make more crappy sports movies

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 6th 2009 11:03AM
If you've been waiting, hoping and praying for the next big ESPN movie blockbuster, then you have my deepest sympathies.

The network's film studio will produce two more made-for-TV movies about, let me guess, some sports hero's rise, fall, then rise again, then fall, then triumphant rise to redemption and glory in the annals of sports history.

The network plans to produce a film about Jim Jones Jr. and his rise to redemption through basketball, and a fallen firefighter who finds redemption by coaching a high school basketball team to a state title. It's bound to be redemptabulous!

No disrespect to the subjects of these films and the stories these movies strive to present, but has anyone ever watched and enjoyed an ESPN film from beginning to end? Does anybody even own one that isn't sitting in the cushions of a couch or holding it up in place of a missing leg?

They have had six chances, eight if you count Playmakers and Tilt, to make a successful narrative story or mini-series, and they never seem to be worth the amount of money they spent on them or the time it takes to watch them. They all follow more tired sports cliches than Dan Rather on election night.

Why do so many of the cable networks keep trying to cash on in the made-for-TV movie money? It rarely works for the networks, so what makes them think they can work on cable? ESPN needs to go back to doing what they do best: giving me the scores to every game ever played at the top and bottom of every hour, and letting Denver Post columnist Woody Paige make an even bigger ass of himself on national television for my entertainment.

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Wow what an epic fail of an article.

In the first paragraph there is the quote "ESPN this week reached the one-year mark in its ambitious plan to expand into the feature film biz"

the third paragraph is "This week, the shingle announced the addition of two theatrically targeted biopics."

Reading is fundamental.

March 09 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am sorry,but I have to disagree with your comments.
ESPN had what I think was one of the best miniseries
that I have seen in a long time-- The Bronx is Burning.
Either you have forgotten about this emmy nominated
miniseries or you are not a fan of the TV movie/mini-
series genre.

March 06 2009 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I ain't going back to school Daddy." I laughed at Barry Pepper saying that line every commercial break. Bring on some more ESPN.

March 06 2009 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, ESPN had a very good series called "Tilt" about poker....

March 06 2009 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Keri Potts

Hi there - Saw your entry and just wanted to clarify. These films will be theatrical motion pictures as in..not on TV. We will be working with a Hollywood studio when the time comes for distribution. We have signed on two great writing teams thus far and are in the process of developing the scripts. Our previously announced Jackie Robinson/Branch Rickey biopic will star Robert Redford as Branch Rickey. We are in development with him and his company.
Thank you. Keri Potts, ESPN PR

March 06 2009 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wait a sec. Playmakers was a very good series that perhaps was a bit too real for the NFL(who put pressure on ESPN to cancel the series). This show was probably a bit ahead of it's time especially now with all the steroid talk in sports.

I think ESPN does best with it's documentaries. It's planning 30/30 starting this fall which will have an hour long documentary each week by a different filmmaker. It will focus each week on a sports story that happened over the last 30 years told by the individual sports filmmaker assigned. I know Spike Lee is doing one and even Kevin Nash of the Suns will be producing one. I think ESPN does a great job with docs like these and should probably stick with that BUT Playmakers was a good show.

March 06 2009 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tony's comment
joe scherrman

ESPN and Documentaries? How the heck do you get ahold of those guys at ESPN. I have a sports doc they would love. It's about the Ghost Players from the Field of Dreams. You remember the old ballplayers that disappeared into the corn. I know what happened to them. I've got it on tape.

April 02 2009 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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