Fox Sports tees up Shelton for docs

'Game' focuses on athletes, teams

If viewers are interested in seeing stories about the personal lives and careers of singers in programs like VH1’s “Behind the Music,” Fox Sports Net figures they’d be interested in the same kinds of stories about athletes.

So the network has turned to Broadband Sports and director Ron Shelton to create 26 one-hour episodes of a new primetime documentary series tentatively titled “Beyond the Game.”

Shelton, who has directed the sports-themed movies “Bull Durham,” White Men Can’t Jump,” “Tin Cup,” “Cobb” and “Play It to the Bone,” will be executive consultant on his first sports-related TV project. He will also produce a couple of the episodes, which will be shown at 8 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 26, said Arthur Smith, FSN’s executive VP of programming, production and news.

Smith, along with Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Mark Angotti and Emmy winner Jonathan Hock, will be executive producers.

Multiple runs

It’s not clear what will happen with the series once FSN’s new Sunday-night ACC basketball coverage kicks off in the fall of 2001, but Smith said the program will have multiple runs in various dayparts right away.

Smith said the programs would focus on athletes and teams from recent decades and may offer a look at a single athlete or cover several athletes or teams connected by their careers or a certain era. He described the approach as cinematic, although there will be no dramatizations. There will also be no host for the series.

Smith declined to discuss a budget for the show but characterized it as a multimillion-dollar effort.

Broadband Sports’ AthletesDirect.com division will co-produce the series with FSN and is the series’ presenting sponsor.

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