You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Sports Illustrated Team for ‘True Crime’ Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Sports Illustrated have teamed to develop an unscripted TV series focused on true-crime stories involving sports figures.

The partners are poised to shop “Sports Illustrated: True Crime” to TV and digital outlets in the coming weeks.

Bruckheimer’s TV company and Time Inc.’s sports powerhouse were brought together by their mutual reps at CAA. The show is part of Time Inc.’s initiative to expand the reach of its publishing brands by using its editorial resources as the foundation for TV programs. Earlier this week, People magazine announced a pact with ABC for a four-hour documentary marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

Bruckheimer TV was a fit for the Sports Illustrated project because of its long track record with crime-centered procedural storytelling in the “CSI” franchise and other scripted drama series. However, “True Crime” will take a strict documentary approach with no plans for docu-drama or reenactment elements. The goal is to blend the production expertise of Bruckheimer TV with the editorial muscle that Sports Illustrated already devotes to covering crime as it intersects with sports.

“We love telling great stories especially when they involve crime,” Bruckheimer told Variety. “We love the idea of looking at the real thing – how crimes are committed, why they were committed and the effect they had on other people. We understand how to craft a story, and who better to collaborate with than the (journalists) who actually followed the stories.”

Time Inc. president-CEO Rich Battista has been on a mission to grow the publishing giant’s TV portfolio. “People in Hollywood flip through People and Sports Illustrated and Time every week looking for story ideas,” he said. “It’s time for us to leverage that for ourselves.”

Time Inc. is on track to produce at least 40 hours of television this year, up from five hours in 2014. Investigation Discovery’s “People Magazine Investigates” franchise was renewed last month for a second season.

Bruce Gersh, Time Inc.’s senior VP strategy and business development, said the goal is to make the format of episodes flexible, allowing for longer takes on more complex stories. “If one of the stories really takes off, we could spin it off into a separate series,” he said.

“True Crime” will be exec produced by Bruckheimer and Bruckheimer TV’s Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed along with Time Inc.’s Gersh, Ian Orefice, Chris Stone, Jon Wertheim and Josh Oshinsky.

Time Inc.’s TV development initiative has had traction with network buyers because the strength of its brands are a marketing tool for networks. The magazines and their digital offshoots also help spread the word about the shows without being too overtly promotional. “It’s very natural for Sports Illustrated to be in the marketplace with the kinds of stories we’ll be covering in ‘True Crime,’ ” Battista said.

The quality of the journalism in Sports Illustrated was a big part of the attraction for Bruckheimer, who has been a reader of the magazine for years. The prolific film and TV producer, a well-known hockey buff who tries to get out on the ice a few times a week, said he was eager to get to work in the docu arena, a form that he worked in early on in his career. Bruckheimer said he’s been impressed by the craftsmanship displayed in recent TV docu-series such as ESPN’s “O.J.: Made in America.”

“It’s exciting for me as a producer to involve myself in another world with great creative talent,” he said. “I read so many papers, but nobody covers sports like Sports Illustrated.”

More TV

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett to Receive Inaugural Golden Globe Television Special Achievement Award

    Carol Burnett will receive the inaugural Golden Globe television special achievement award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) announced Tuesday. Aptly named the Carol Burnett Award, this new honor will celebrate the highest level of achievement in the medium. Burnett, who is a five-time Globe winner — the most decorated in the television category — [...]

  • Audrey HepburnOn the film set of

    Audrey Hepburn to Be Subject of New TV Drama Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    A TV drama series about the life of Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn is being developed by Wildside, the expanding Italian production company behind “The Young Pope” and “My Brilliant Friend,” with plans to start shooting in 2020. The Oscar-winning actress was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces of the 20th century and was celebrated for [...]

  • An Overview of Ventana Sur’s 2018

    Ventana Sur: How Producers Can Meet the OTT Demand and Challenge

    BUENOS AIRES —  Jonathan Olsberg, who speaks at Ventana Sur, calls it a “production deluge.” According to Ampere Analysis’ Guy Bisson, talking in a podcast last week, in the third quarter of 2018 the number of unique SVOD homes in 16 maturer markets around the world overtook the number of unique pay TV homes. Also, [...]

  • Acorn TV

    AMC’s Best-of-British Streamer Acorn TV Launches in 30 New Territories

    Acorn TV launched in 30 new markets Tuesday, the biggest wave of international launches to date for the AMC-owned streaming service, which focuses on British and English-language drama. The platform is now live in Australia and New Zealand, India, Spain, the Nordics, the Benelux countries and South Africa. The international rollout started in June, when Acorn [...]

  • NBCU Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches

    NBCU’s Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches in Three New Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    It’s easier to keep up with the Kardashians in the Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg after NBCUniversal launched its reality-TV streaming service, hayu, in those countries Tuesday. The service went live with about 6,000 episodes of unscripted fare from NBCUniversal’s lineup, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Made in Chelsea” and “The Real Housewives” and [...]

  • Arrow -- "Elseworlds, Part 2" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 2' Recap: Batwoman's 'Arrowverse' Story Begins

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2” the second part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 10. “Arrow’s” leg of the “Elseworlds” crossover had a little more to think about than “The Flash’s,” mainly because it served as the first introduction to Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. For [...]

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content