Stephen David Entertainment producing Hugh Hefner docudrama
Banijay Group-owned producer Stephen David Entertainment and Playboy’s Alta Loma Entertainment are teaming up to coproduce a hybrid docudrama about the life of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (pictured). Due to begin production this year, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story will span six decades and tell “the dual narrative of Hefner’s personal life, intertwined with the evolution of the country he sought to change,” according to producers. The production will have “unprecedented access” to Hefner’s personal video and photo archives, as well as the Playboy Enterprises’ archives, which includes back issues of Playboy magazine and previously unpublished material. Stephen David is exec producing alongside Alta Loma’s Peter Jaysen and Dick Rosenzweig. The series does not yet have a network attached.
HBO lines up college basketball series for February
HBO Sports and IMG’s original content unit are producing a five-episode unscripted series about the men’s basketball team of Spokane, Washington-based Gonzaga University. Shot during the 2015-2016 season, Gonzaga: The March to Madness looks at how a small school has produced one of college basketball’s leading teams, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. It will premiere on February 16 and the finale will air in March to coincide with the annual NCAA tournament. The series is exec produced by Rick Bernstein, Will Staeger, Mike Antinoro and Fred Christenson. Actor Liev Schreiber narrates the show.
Management shuffle at German producer Gruppe 5
Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion founder Christel Fomm has stepped down from the Cologne-based producer after 22 years, effective last month. The company has since promoted Stefan Schneider to GM. A documentary director and producer, he will head the company’s business affairs alongside co-MD Alexander Hesse. Fomm will continue working with the ZDF Enterprises-owned company as a writer, director and producer. Gruppe 5 was founded in 1989 and produces documentaries and unscripted content for the German market. Its credits include Germany’s Cities, Super Talent Man and Giant of the North: Hamburg’s Ascent to Become a World Port.