Former MTV execs behind football docuseries

Current TV has ordered nine half-hour episodes of docuseries “4th and Forever,” from a producing team that includes former MTV Networks honchos Brian Graden and Lois Curren.

Bowing April 3 in the 10 p.m. Sunday timeslot, “4th” will profile the 2010 football season of Long Beach, Calif., Polytechnic High School, famed in sports circles for its prodigious output of pro-caliber players (as well as such other alums as John Wayne, Cameron Diaz and Snoop Dogg). The school has had more players reach the NFL than any other high school.

Series will place the 2010 football season against a backdrop of community struggles with poverty, drugs and gangs. Head coach Raul Lara, a prominent figure in the program, has a day job as a deputy probation officer.

“The Long Beach Poly student athletes showcased in ’4th and Forever’ are inspiring, and their lives, passions and experiences will truly resonate in this documentary series,” said Current TV CEO Mark Rosenthal, also an alum of MTV Networks, where he was chief operating officer. “(It) personifies the kind of meaningful entertainment we will be dedicated to providing in 2011.”

Graden, former entertainment prexy at MTV Networks Music Channels, is producing with Curren (former MTV entertainment and programming prexy) through Brian Graden Media, along with Stephen Land (Jupiter Entertainment), Michael Hughes (DLP Entertainment) and Clint Stinchcomb (Global Content Partners).

Jupiter brought the show to Current, which then turned to Graden to help bring the project to fruition.

“I think anybody would give their eye tooth to work with Brian Graden on anything,” Current senior programming veep Ocean MacAdams said. “He’s one of the most talented producers and smart guys to work in our business in the past 15 years. I wouldn’t want to speak for Brian, but via Brian Graden Prods., he’s really trying to take on projects that really feel different, feel original and speak to his interests.”It’s not the first time we’ve seen a football show on television, but it feels like such a unique story,” MacAdams said. “The great thing about this show is we can look at so many issues that are important to our country: education, urban poverty, gangs — but you can do it through a really fun, exciting show that happens to be about football.”Current has been taken steps to increase its original programming slate. Recent announcements include “Bar Karma,” a series developed by an online community and shepherded by “The Sims” creator Will Wright.

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