ESPN has chosen to greenlight “Ruffian,” about the celebrated 1970s race horse, as its latest scripted original movie, but there’s a new wrinkle: ABC will get the TV premiere.
ABC is a corporate sibling of ESPN, and Orly Adelson, the executive producer, will start principal photography in February and deliver the finished product in June 2007 to tie in with ABC’s telecast of the annual Belmont Stakes.
Within four days of the ABC play of “Ruffian,” ESPN will get a primetime run and make the movie available on the Internet through ESPN360.
The movie also will go immediately to ESPN On Demand and will hit the videostores on DVD. Added content will go to ESPN.com and to cellphones through Mobile ESPN.
Joining Adelson as exec producers of “Ruffian” are the co-writers Jim Burnstein and Garrett K. Schiff. Selection of a director and casting are pending.