It is easy to see why so many youths are enticed by the life of a professional athlete. One may argue that it doesn’t get better than making a few million bucks just from playing “a game.” Lost in the world of insane athleticism, countless endorsements, fame, and fortune, lies the back-story behind athletes’ everyday lives. NBC once did a phenomenal job of telling the backstory of the high school athlete’s life with the television series Friday Night Lights; however, the few times networks have attempted to tell the backstory of a professional athlete, it hasn’t gone so well (See: ESPN’s Playmakers). So what makes HBO’s latest attempt at a television series based around fictional professional athletes so intriguing?
Deadline is reporting that producer Gavin Polone (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and writer Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 3) have indeed sold an original one-hour dramedy pitch to HBO. The show will reportedly tell the behind-the-scenes tale of the athletes on a fictional professional basketball team and the off-the-court stories of money, power, sex and all the temptations the owners and athletes have to deal with on a consistent basis. According to the report, Polone and Nathanson will serve as the executive producers.
HBO is certainly not a newcomer when it comes to sports. Aside from HBO Sports, which has produced some of the most memorable sports documentaries (Derek Jeter 3K) and boxing events in recent history, HBO struck gold in 1996 with the comedy Arliss, which starred Robert Wuhl (Batman) as a sports super-agent (think Drew Rosenhaus). Of course, not all sports series on HBO have been a success, as HBO recently had to cancel Luck, a series starring Dustin Hoffman which focused on the world of horse racing. With a slot now open due to the Luck cancellation, it will be interesting to see if the new basketball dramedy will swoop in and secure the spot.
HBO still hopes for a season 9 return of the Larry David comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, and is gearing up for season 5 of True Blood. The addition and success of a sports dramedy will only help the growing legend of HBO original series – a list that also includes the likes of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.
Polone’s producing credentials include Zombieland and the recently announced Zombieland 2, while Jeff Nathanson’s writing credentials includes the Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist. HBO has to hope that the double team of Polone and Nathanson will lead to a high score in the ratings column – if not, the project will head straight to the free agency list, alongside other failed sports series.
No release date has been announced for the untitled dramedy, but continue to check back with Screen Rant for further details.