“O.J. Made in America,” the most ambitious project from ESPN Films to date, will air over the course of a week in June, ESPN announced today, and will get a launch on sister broadcast network ABC. The 10-hour episodic documentary had premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.
The latest project under ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” brand, “O.J. Made in America” will premiere on Saturday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. After an ESPN replay at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, the second two-hour installment will follow at 9 p.m., and subsequent episodes will air June 15, 17 and 18.
ABC will get plenty of opportunity to promote the event during its coverage of the NBA Finals, which starts June 2. The doc’s premiere will come between Game 4 and a potential Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
“O.J.: Made in America” will hit the U.S. airwaves five months after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It also will come on the heels of FX’s similarly themed “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which has delivered strong ratings for the cabler. Long-form crime has been popular elsewhere too, including HBO’s Robert Durst docu-series “The Jinx” and Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”
While the FX event series has focused largely on the lawyers arguing the so-called “Trial of the Century” in the mid-1990s, the ESPN Films project will explore themes of race and celebrity in tracing the personal journey of Orenthal James Simpson — from his fame as a football star, to why the country fell in love with him off the field, to his being accused of murdering his ex-wife, his subsequent acquittal and why he is sitting in jail 20 years later for another crime.