or


[02/05/04 - 12:00 AM]
Game Over for ESPN's 'Playmakers'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- After months of rumors and speculation, ESPN made it official on Wednesday as the network announced "Playmakers" will not return for a second season.

"We have decided that 'Playmakers' will not resume production," Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive VP of programming and production, said in a statement. "Many considerations went into to this decision, not the least of which was the reaction from a longtime and valued partner. We are proud of the show on many levels - it was a creative and critical success, and we are appreciative that viewers clearly embraced this new genre on our network... so much so that we are actively engaged in pursuing our next drama."

The news came as little surprise as ESPN has been hounded by the National Football League owners and officials of the NFL Players Assocation over the show's content. With such a negative reaction, ESPN executives apparently did not want to risk damaging their relationship with the NFL. The network is heading into the penultimate year of its contract with the NFL for its top-rated "Sunday Night Football" franchise, currently valued at $600 million a year.

"Playmakers" was nevertheless a major success for ESPN in terms of ratings. The series averaged a 1.9 household rating (1.65 million homes) for its 11-episode run, behind only said NFL games and its Saturday primetime college football coverage. ESPN officials said the network was approached by other cable channels to pick up the series, but opted not to in order avoid any further ire by the NFL. "['Playmakers'] is our series, and as a result it will not air elsewhere," ESPN's Josh Krulewitz told USA Today. Nevertheless, the network will continue with its plans to release the series on DVD come April (click here for details).

Despite the "Playmakers" experience, Shapiro said ESPN is still going forward with its scripted series development. He hopes to have one of the network's three projects currently in the hopper - Spike Lee's series version of "He Got Game," the college gambling drama "The Fix" and an untitled comedy from Tollin-Robbins Productions ("Ari$$") - on the air by the fall.

John Eisendrath and Orly Adelson were the executive producers of "Playmakers," an ESPN Original Entertainment production.





  [february 2004]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S


· ARLI$$ (HBO)
· FIX, THE (ESPN)
· HE GOT GAME (ESPN)
· PLAYMAKERS (ESPN)
· UNTITLED TOLLIN-ROBBINS PROJECT (ESPN)





[12/04/16 - 09:02 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: FOX Holds Off ABC in College Football Showdown
The network wins the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[12/04/16 - 08:55 AM]
"Saturday Night Live" Grows Versus the Year-Ago Night
NBC spins the numbers for Saturday, December 3.

[12/03/16 - 02:11 PM]
Hallelujah! Netflix Confirms Launch Dates for "Sense8": A Christmas Special and Season Two
Look for "A Christmas Special" on Friday, December 23 followed by season two on Friday, May 5.

[12/03/16 - 08:45 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: College Football Sparks Demo Victory for FOX
The network leads the night among adults 18-49 while CBS is the most-watched broadcaster.

[12/03/16 - 08:38 AM]
ABC Earns Its Most Watched Friday This Season with "20/20" Spiking Over 50% to Season Highs
ABC spins the numbers for Friday, December 2.

[12/03/16 - 08:37 AM]
New Season Highs for "Dateline"; "Caught on Camera" Captures Its Top Total-Viewer Result Since February
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, December 2.

[12/02/16 - 03:09 PM]
Science Channel Delivers Double-Digit Primetime and Total Day Increases Across Key Demos Including Adults 25-54 and Total Viewership in November
Science Channel further spins the numbers for the month of November.

[12/02/16 - 01:03 PM]
"Saturday Night Live" Celebrates the Holiday Season with Three Back-to-Back Shows
John Cena and Casey Affleck will follow the previously announced Emma Stone.

[12/02/16 - 01:03 PM]
Animal Planet Highlights One Organization's Mission to Protect and Rescue Animals in New Series "The Guardians"
In this all-new series, Animal Planet introduces this volunteer-run organization called Guardians of Rescue and follows its quest to help any animal in need - anywhere, anytime.

[12/02/16 - 12:00 PM]
Beloved Actress Betty White to Be "Young & Hungry" with a Guest Star Role on Freeform's Original Comedy
White will play Ms. Wilson, Gabi's neighbor who she encounters after a misunderstanding with Josh leaves Gabi confused about what to do.

[12/02/16 - 11:38 AM]
"DC's Legends of Tomorrow" Hits Series Highs in The CW's #DCWeek Finale
The CW spins the numbers for Thursday, December 1.

[12/02/16 - 11:28 AM]
E!'s New Docu-Series "So Cosmo" - Set at the Glamorous Epi-center of Pop Culture, Cosmopolitan Magazine - Premieres Wed., Feb. 8 at 8 PM ET/PT
Plus: look for a preview special on Tuesday, December 20 at 8:00/7:00c.

[12/02/16 - 11:01 AM]
Production Underway on Investigation Discovery's First Movie, "Dating Game Killer," Starring Guillermo Diaz as Serial Killer Rodney Alcala
Carrie Preston and Robert Knepper also star in the project, which is set to premiere in early 2017.

[12/02/16 - 11:00 AM]
Freeform Shares Their Holiday Spirit with Annual Gift-giving Initiative Pop Up Santa and Holiday-themed Shorts "Funny Or Die Presents Santa's Shorts"
All of these jolly holiday moments can be seen during "25 Days of Christmas" airing December 1 - 25, on the Freeform app and on 25DaysofChristmasTV.com.

[12/02/16 - 10:44 AM]
TBS Heads into "Final Space" with New Animated Comedy from Olan Rogers
Part of TBS's continued push into animation, "Final Space" is a serialized intergalactic space saga about an astronaut named Gary and his adorable, planet-destroying friend, Mooncake.