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)





[02/20/19 - 12:43 PM]
MotorTrend's New Series "Auto/Biography" Will Have You on the Edge of Your Car Seat
Hosted by automotive historian Tim Donahue and automotive filmmaker Michael May, the all new series will keep viewers on the edge of their car seats by exploring the world's most improbable vehicular mysteries.

[02/20/19 - 12:01 PM]
Comedy Special "My Dad Wrote a Porno," Bringing the Hit Podcast to HBO, To Tape in London Next Month for May Debut
Hosted by Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine, the exclusive presentation tapes Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4 in front of a live audience at the Roundhouse in London.

[02/20/19 - 12:00 PM]
Lifetime to Air a Special Episode of "Red Table Talk" from Facebook Watch Featuring "Surviving R. Kelly's" Lisa Van Allen on February 25
The telecast will be preceded by a mini-marathon of the documentary series.

[02/20/19 - 12:00 PM]
Video: HBO Releases New "The Case Against Adnan Syed" Trailer
The four-part documentary series debuts Sunday, March 10 on the pay channel.

[02/20/19 - 10:16 AM]
Freeform Casts Gigi Zumbado, Jessika Van and Davi Santos for New Series "Besties" (Working Title)
Jordin Sparks, Matt Shively and Brooks Brantly also star in the project.

[02/20/19 - 10:06 AM]
"Saturday Night Live" Springs Into March with Two Back-to-Back New Shows
Host John Mulaney on March 2 will be followed by Idris Elba on March 9.

[02/20/19 - 10:01 AM]
Spectrum to Offer New, Innovative Video Service "Spectrum TV Essentials" to Spectrum Internet Customers
Additionally, starting in May 2019, Spectrum Originals will become available to all Spectrum TV Essential subscribers.

[02/20/19 - 09:00 AM]
Lena Waithe to Executive Produce New Showtime Comedy Pilot "How to Make Love to a Black Woman"
Casallina "Cathy" Kisakye wrote the pilot, which came to the network through its first-look deal with Waithe.

[02/20/19 - 08:11 AM]
Tuesday's Broadcast Ratings: Another Week, Another NBC Demo Victory
"This Is Us" paves the way for the Peacock to take home the adults 18-49 crown.

[02/20/19 - 08:01 AM]
A&E Network to Premiere New Two-Hour Biography Special "John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky" on March 11 at 9PM ET/PT
The special traces the untold story of the making of John Lennon's 1971 album "Imagine," and recounts a story of hope for a world divided yet still desperately in need of peace, justice, empathy and love.

[02/20/19 - 08:00 AM]
ABC to Air "American Idol: A New Journey Begins" Special on Oscar Sunday
The special will join the previously announced "Whiskey Cavalier" sneak preview in rounding out a star-studded Oscar Sunday.

[02/20/19 - 07:01 AM]
Video: Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson Lay Down the Law in "The Highwaymen" Trailer
The film launches globally on Netflix on March 29 with exclusive theatrical engagements beginning March 15.

[02/20/19 - 06:47 AM]
Extraordinary, Customized Home Renos and Designs Showcased in New HGTV Series "One of a Kind" Premiering March 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
The eight-episode series stars home renovator and interior designer Grace Mitchell as she creates eclectic, imaginative spaces in Fort Worth, Texas.

[02/20/19 - 04:06 AM]
"Formula 1: Drive to Survive" in Pole Position on Netflix This Spring
The gripping, high-octane 10-part series is the first to give exclusive and intimate access to the greatest racing competition in the world.

[02/19/19 - 02:03 PM]
"The Banana Splits" Are Back in All-New Horror Movie from WBTVG's Blue Ribbon Content for WBHE & Syfy
"The Banana Splits" will offer a new take on the classic characters, which were first introduced to audiences in 1968 with "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour" variety program.