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Spike Lee Directing ESPN’s Colin Kaepernick Docuseries

Kaepernick is partnering with former ESPN television personality Jemele Hill, who is also a producer on the project.

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ESPN Films has a big name attached to its previously announced docuseries on Colin Kaepernick. Renowned filmmaker Spike Lee will direct the multi-part documentary, which just went into production.

The Kaepernick documentary was announced in 2020 as the first project in a first-look deal the former NFL quarterback and his Ra Vision Media production house agreed to with The Walt Disney Company.

Until this documentary, Kaepernick has not provided a full, first-person account of his experiences growing up in a white family (which was depicted dramatically in the Netflix series Colin in Black & White), developing into a college and pro quarterback, and the social activism that eventually cost him an NFL career. Interviews with Lee and archival footage will help tell the story.

Lee is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker with numerous credits including Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, He Got Game, and Inside Man. Among the documentaries he’s directed are 4 Little Girls, When the Levees Broke, and David Byrne’s American Utopia.

The documentary will be executive produced by ESPN Films and produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Kaepernick is partnering with former ESPN television personality Jemele Hill, who is also a producer on the project.

ESPN Films will executive-produce the project with Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks producing. Former ESPN commentator Jemele Hill was tapped by Kaepernick to be a producer and is mentioned as such in the latest announcement.

Connor Schell and Libby Geist, who worked on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and long-form documentaries like O.J: Made in America and The Last Dance, were originally named as executive producers. Since then, Schell has started his own production company with Geist joining him. Kevin Merida, who then ran ESPN’s The Undefeated, was also mentioned as an executive producer but became the Los Angeles Times‘ executive editor last year.

No further details, including a projected release date, were mentioned in the ESPN announcement.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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