Thursday, August 04, 2011

ESPN keeps spirit of '30 for 30' alive with new documentaries

I really enjoyed the 30 for 30 documentary series that ESPN ran in late 2009 and 2010. ESPN will follow up on the series with a new slate of films.

The new ESPN Films documentaries will air on successive Tuesdays starting September 27. Two of these films--Catching Hell and Charismatic--were originally announced as part of the original 30 for 30 series. The documentaries set for this fall include:

- "Catching Hell," will kick off the fall run on September 27. It's directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side") and will delve into why Chicago Cubs fans were so eager to make Bartman -- a fan who's blamed for costing the Cubs a World Series spot in 2003 (never mind that Cubs pitchers went on to give up eight runs in the same inning) -- a scapegoat. Gibney, a Red Sox fan, then looks at his own anger at Bill Buckner's gaffe in the 1986 World Series.

- "Renee," about transgender tennis player Renee Richards' efforts to enter the 1977 U.S. Open and her life today. Airs October 4.

- "The Dotted Line," directed by Morgan Spurlock, which profiles two sports agents, Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee. Airs October 11.

- "Unguarded," about former high-school star and NBA player Chris Herren's struggles with addiction and his road to recovery. Airs October 18.

- "The Real Rocky," a profile of former heavyweight boxer Chuck "The Bayonne Bleeder" Wepner, whose 1975 fight with Muhammad Ali helped inspire Sylvester Stallone to write "Rocky." Airs October 25.

- "Charismatic," about the horse that nearly won the Triple Crown in 1999 but sustained a career-ending injury in the Belmont Stakes. Airs November 1.

- "Roll Tide/War Eagle," about the deep roots of the rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Airs November 8.

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