Seen on Screen: ESPN’s Jordan Doc, The Last Dance, To Be Released on April 19; Fox Sports Gets Into Esports With Madden NFL Invitational
Seen on Screen provides a roundup of the current sports programming landscape as networks deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s edition, major networks like NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and ESPN are combating the silence of no live sports with previously-released, taped, or archival content. Many networks have also continued producing live studio content – often with on-air talent located remotely.
The premiere of The Last Dance, the highly anticipated 10-part documentary series will air on ESPN in the U.S. on Sunday nights over five weeks from April 19 through May 17. The series will also be available outside of the U.S. on Netflix.
The series, directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five, The ’85 Bears, Andre the Giant), chronicles one of the greatest icons and most successful teams in sports history, Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls, and features never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season as the team pursued its sixth NBA championship in eight years.
In the fall of 1997, Michael Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and head coach Phil Jackson agreed to let an NBA Entertainment film crew follow the team all season long. The result would be a remarkable portrait of an iconic player and a celebrated team – a portrait only now being revealed, more than two decades later, in “The Last Dance.”
As the series weaves its way through the tumultuous 1997-98 season, viewers will be transported back to how it all began – from Jordan’s childhood roots, the Bulls’ dire circumstances before his arrival and how the team was built after drafting him in 1984, to the struggles that eventually led to the team’s first NBA championship. As the series takes the audience through the Bulls’ first five championships, viewers will experience the off-court challenges, struggles, and triumphs that were a part of the culture-shifting phenomenon created by Jordan and the Bulls.
The result is one of the most fascinating sports documentary series ever produced – a series viewers won’t want to miss.
Click HERE for a full schedule…
…Fox Sports aired the first-ever Fox Esports Madden NFL Invitational on Sunday, March 29 at 7:00 PM ET on FS1. The two-hour event, hosted by Fox Sports broadcasters Chris Myers and Rachel Bonnetta, raised awareness for the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
The tournament matched eight NFL stars in a single-elimination Madden NFL 20 tournament with seven matches across three rounds of play that determined who was crowned the Fox Esports Madden NFL Invitational champion. All players competed remotely and with the games live streamed into a single two-hour telecast on FS1.
The field of celebrity competitors, highlighted by Fox Sports analysts and NFL stars, included Michael Vick, Matt Leinart, Orlando Scandrick, T.J.Houshmandzadeh, Juju Smith-Schuster, Derwin James, Antonio Cromartie, and Ahman Green.
Throughout Sunday’s telecast, Fox Sports spotlighted the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit that works to extend the lifesaving work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Viewers supported the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 response efforts, including the “All of Us: Combat Coronavirus” crowdfunding campaign (give4cdcf.org). Donations to the CDC Foundation’s response efforts address critical emerging needs, including providing support for vulnerable communities; increasing laboratory capacity; strengthening dedicated local response efforts; updating community data and technology infrastructure; addressing health communications needs, boosting clinical research to optimize clinical care and support, and more…
…NBC Sports Philadelphia announced Philadelphia 76ers coverage including three classic game broadcasts and two NBA 2K20 game simulations. Updated content is also available daily across NBC Sports Philadelphia’s platforms, including the MyTeams app.
Starting this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Classic Games are available via live stream, on the MyTeams app, and on nbcsportsphiladelphia.com.
Two NBA 2K20 simulations against the Rockets and Wizards are on tap this week. The viewer experience will include the same video and audio components of NBA 2K20 gameplay, along with contributions from 76ers broadcasters Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby and Serena Winters. Additional content will be available on nbcsportsphiladelphia.com and on the network’s social platforms.
Tuesday, March 31
6:00 pm – NBA 2K20: Rockets at 76ers
7:00 pm – Christmas Day Game: Bucks at 76ers from 12/25/19
9:00 pm – NBA 2K20: Rockets at 76ers
Friday, April 3
6:00 pm – NBA 2K20: 76ers at Wizards
7:00 pm – 2018 NBA Playoffs: First Round, Game 1: Miami at 76ers from 4/14/18
9:30 pm – NBA 2K20: 76ers at Wizards
Sunday, April 5
7:00 pm – 2018 NBA Playoffs: First Round, Game 3: 76ers at Miami from 4/19/18…
Additionally, on each episode, Lindsay Czarniak interviews a driver and his family one-on-one via Zoom from their respective homes for a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and new routines without racing.
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, winner of the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race last Sunday at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway, was Czarniak’s first guest in a special 30-minute edition of NASCAR Race Hub that aired on Sunday, March 29, at 12:30 PM ET, which immediately preceeded the FOX NASCAR iRACING event from virtual Texas Motor Speedway (simulcasted on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app at 1:00 PM ET).
Czarniak’s guests next week include Hamlin (Monday), Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex (Tuesday), Erik Jones (Wednesday), and Kyle and Samantha Busch (Thursday).
The Monday 6:00 PM ET editions of NASCAR Race Hub recap the previous day’s FOX NASCAR iRACING action, while the Tuesday-Thursday episodes feature specific themes ranging from 2020 season headlines and recaps to a countdown of the best drivers of all time. All FOX NASCAR on-air broadcasters contribute to Hub in the coming weeks…
…Fox Sports teams up with WWE to offer a new slate of action-packed programming to viewers, including the network’s first-ever pay-per-view presentation of WRESTLEMANIA on the Fox Sports App and FOXSports.com. WRESTLEMANIA, hosted by Fox Sports’ very own Rob Gronkowski, will be held as a two-night event for the first-time ever this Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 PM ET.
Viewers can live stream two nights of the WRESTLEMANIA pay-per-view for $59.99 on the Fox Sports and FOX NOW Apps via mobile and connected devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku or at FOXSports.com. WRESTLEMANIA KICKOFF PART 1 and PART 2 begin coverage this Saturday and Sunday night at 6:00 PM ET on FS1 and Fox Deportes, with a panel of experts breaking down the night’s upcoming matches.
Fox Sports will present 22 hours of timeless WWE content to air on Tuesday nights this spring, beginning with ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 tonight at 7:00 PM ET on FS1. Additional programming on FS1 includes one-hour editions of WRESTLEMANIA 31, WRESTLEMANIA 33 and WRESTLEMANIA 34, in addition to other specials from the “WWE 24” and “Ruthless Aggression” series. Content also includes WWE’s brand-new series titled “Best Of WWE” featuring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H, John Cena, Charlotte Flair, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Becky Lynch, Shawn Michaels, Roman Reigns and The Undertaker.
A full programming schedule including all events and specials will follow at a later date.
Finally, television’s only WWE-focused studio show, WWE BACKSTAGE, returns to FS1 in a modified remote format tonight at 11:00 PM ET on FS1. Host Renee Young and analysts Booker T, Mark Henry, and Paige join from their homes to discuss the latest news and make their predictions ahead of WRESTLEMANIA…
…ESPN will re-air iconic Monday Night Football games from the past 15 years every Monday night at 8 p.m. ET for the next five weeks from March 30 – April 27. These games reflect efforts by ESPN and the NFL to deliver fans some of their favorite sports moments as a small but welcomed distraction in the middle of a difficult and unprecedented time. The Monday Night Football Classics series will showcase legendary National Football League players and current stars, popular franchises and a handful of the most memorable games in the 50-year history of sports television’s signature series. These games will also include inventory to support COVID-19 relief-focused organizations.
The highest-scoring game in MNF history – a 54-51 shootout from November 2018, featuring Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams – will be the first featured game this Monday. Other matchups include the New Orleans Saints’ Superdome reopening game after Hurricane Katrina in 2006 (April 6), Brett Favre’s first game against the Green Bay Packers in 2009 (April 13), and an improbable Dallas Cowboys road win over the Buffalo Bills in 2007 (April 27).
Four of the five Monday Night Classics are ESPN telecasts since 2006. The series will also feature ABC’s Colts-Patriots game from 2005 when Peyton Manning won for the first time in Foxborough against Tom Brady and New England (April 20)…
…ESPN, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, is televising MLB Encore Tuesdays starting this week on March 31, at 7 p.m. ET. The series will feature several of the greatest and most memorable Major League Baseball games ever played every Tuesday throughout April at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN App.
MLB Encore Tuesdays will debut this Tuesday with the unforgettable September 21, 2001 game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. It was New York City’s first major professional sports event after the September 11 tragedy. Mike Piazza’s walk-off home run in this game remains one of baseball’s most enduring moments.
Click HERE for a full schedule…
…NBC Sports will present Hockey Happy Hour Monday-Thursday this week from 5-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Programming will include highlights from last week’s Hockey Week in America, as well as an EA Sports NHL 20 Washington Capitals-St. Louis Blues simulated matchup, and an hour-long presentation of the Capitals-Blues 2019-2020 opening night matchup on NBCSN.
Following is Monday-Thursday’s highlighted content:
- Monday, March 30: Kings-Blackhawks 2014 Western Conference Final, Game 7
- Tuesday, March 31: Maple Leafs-Bruins 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 7
- Wednesday, April 1: Capitals-Blues EA Sports NHL 20 simulated game and Capitals-Blues 2019-2020 opening night matchup
- Thursday, April 2: Penguins-Red Wings 2009 Stanley Cup Final, Game 7
Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.