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)





[02/16/18 - 11:49 PM]
Development Update: Friday, February 16
Updates include: Madeline Stowe to star in FOX's "Mixtape"; Aunjanue Ellis set for lead role in "Chiefs" at CBS; and Lynn Collins among those bound for ABC's "Safe Harbor."

[02/16/18 - 05:54 PM]
"Descendants 3" Was Announced to Disney Channel Viewers Tonight in a Special Message from "Mal"
"Descendants 3" will begin production there in summer for a debut next year on Disney Channel.

[02/16/18 - 01:48 PM]
NBC Olympics' PyeongChang Coverage Delivered Most Dominant Winter Games Thursday Night Since Sarah Hughes Won Gold & Bode Miller Took Silver in 2002
NBC further spins the numbers for Thursday, February 15.

[02/16/18 - 12:00 PM]
Video: TBS Reveals First Trailer for "The Last O.G."
The series centers on Tray (Tracy Morgan), an ex-con shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for on good behavior after a 15-year stint.

[02/16/18 - 11:56 AM]
Travel Channel Triggers Mid-Season Pick Up of "Expedition Unknown" with Josh Gates
Production on the new season is slated to begin this spring.

[02/16/18 - 11:47 AM]
Check Out the New "iZombie" Season 4 Key Art!
The new season kicks off Monday, February 26 at 9:00/8:00c on The CW.

[02/16/18 - 11:00 AM]
Emmy(R) Award Winner Alfre Woodard to Guest-Star as Cookie's Mother on "Empire"
Renee, Cookie's mother, comes back into her life with a turbulent reunion.

[02/16/18 - 10:30 AM]
VH1's Unstoppable Streak Continues with a New Season of "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta" and the Return of Erica Mena Monday, March 19 at 8PM ET/PT
After several failed relationships Erica is ready to leave her past behind her in search of a fresh start in Atlanta.

[02/16/18 - 10:30 AM]
Emmy Award-Winning "So You Think You Can Dance" Returns for 15th Season, Premiering Summer 2018 on FOX
Emmy Award winner Nigel Lythgoe, award-winning choreographer Mary Murphy and award-winning actress, singer and dancer Vanessa Hudgens will return as resident judges on the series, hosted by Emmy Award nominee Cat Deeley.

[02/16/18 - 09:02 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Rides Winter Olympics to Top Spot
The Peacock leads the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[02/16/18 - 09:00 AM]
CBS All Access Announces Additional Casting for "Strange Angel"
Production of the 1930s-set series began earlier this month on location across Los Angeles.

[02/16/18 - 08:17 AM]
Science Channel's All-New Series "Secrets of the Lost" Kicks Off with Two Episodes Offering Incredible Insight Into the Great Pyramid of Giza with Help of Newly Uncovered Ancient Text
The new, six-episode series premieres Sunday, February 25 at 10:00/9:00c on Science Channel.

[02/16/18 - 08:06 AM]
Emmy(R) Award-Winning "Rupaul's Drag Race" Returns for a Milestone 10th Season on Thursday, March 22 Followed by an All-New Season of "Untucked"
Each supersized, 90-minute episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race" will give fans more fashion, lip-syncs and drag than ever before.

[02/16/18 - 08:03 AM]
Welcome to the Neighborhood! Netflix Reveals First Look at "Santa Clarita Diet" Season 2's Newest Residents
Joel McHale, Maggie Lawson, Gerald McRaney and Zachary Knighton are all on tap for the new season, due this spring.

[02/16/18 - 05:31 AM]
90th Oscars(R) First Slate of Presenters Announced
The presenters, including past Oscar winners and nominees, are Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Garner, Tiffany Haddish, Greta Gerwig, Tom Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone and Daniela Vega.