ESPN has partnered with Ben Silverman, Full Circle Entertainment and R.J. Cutler on “Bound for Glory,” a reality series about a sort of real-life Bad News Bears.
Cabler has ordered eight one-hour episodes of the skein, about a once-great high school football team that gets a bigtime makeover, complete with former NFL linebacker Dick Butkus as coach. Silverman’s Reveille and Full Circle are exec producing in association with Cutler’s Actual Reality.
“Glory,” which combines elements of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” with the feel-good feature “Rudy,” will follow a small Pennsylvania town’s team and surrounding community as producers come in and prep them for the upcoming season.
“We feel this could work on a number of fronts,” said ESPN exec producer Will Staeger. “With the success of the makeover genre and what will hopefully be a great turnaround story for the team, we’re pretty excited about the concept.”
“We want to do whatever it takes for them to have a successful sports franchise,” Staeger said — and that could include sprucing up everything from the stadium facilities to the band uniforms. “It’s not entirely just about winning the games. Part of this will be to infuse the football program, and hopefully the whole town, with some optimism and glory.”
Shooting will begin in early August, with the first couple of episodes focused on the pre-season.
Silverman, who was pitched the concept by Darryl M. Silver (“The Apprentice”) and Stephen David, described the project as “a Disney film for television.” Pointing to movies like “The Rookie” and “The Mighty Ducks,” he said, “You’re going to watch this town transform. I’ve been working on this project for more than two years, so it’s something very close to my heart.”
Full Circle partner Robert Riesenberg, who’s worked with Silverman on several shows, including “The Restaurant,” has already assembled four sponsors for the show.
Silverman and Cutler most recently teamed on the FX documentary series “30 Days,” from Morgan Spurlock.