“Bonds on Bonds” may be getting picked off.
ESPN confirms that the show will go on hiatus after it airs next week and may come back only for several special episodes later in the season. The crew is expected to stop production shortly, after a total programming tally of between five and six hours.
Skein originally had committed to 10 hours, with ESPN Original Entertainment exec producer Joan Lynch telling Daily Variety several months ago that the show would definitely be on through the All-Star break in July, with an option to renew for the remainder of the reason.
But ESPN spokesman Rob Tobias said Tuesday that the net always had “every intention of taking a hiatus between 715 and 755,” referring to Bonds’ career home run count, and now would do so as Bonds gets ready to hit No. 715.
Tobias also pointed to “Bonds’ health” as a reason for the hiatus.
Move comes as show is being reskedded for this week from Tuesday to Thursday because of NBA playoffs.
Despite controversy over a potential conflict of interest with ESPN’s news division, the show has generated more heat than light.
The idea of following a star athlete — especially one as complex as the Giants slugger — as he runs down a career record seemed like a juicy hanging fastball when ESPN and illustrious shingle Tollin/Robbins committed to the series.
But while catching the slugger in a number of candid shots, the show has sometimes struggled to capture the color and complexity of Bonds that come across even in other appearances.
And athlete’s lackluster play has made the whole home run chase seem less like a dramatic quest than an agonizing wait. There’s even speculation Bonds could retire after he hits his next homer — and retirement doesn’t make for good TV.