American premium cable net Showtime has bolstered its programming lineup with the greenlighting of two new docuseries from LeBron James and Alex Gibney, as announced during its Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour presentation on Monday (Aug. 6).
Executive produced by James and Maverick Carter, the three-part Shut Up and Dribble will chart the cultural and political evolution of the NBA and its players in modern society.
Beginning with the 1976 merger of the freewheeling ABA and the more conventional NBA of today, the series will examine the development of influential players as they transcended beyond the basketball court to become cultural icons in fashion and commerce, as well as champions of social justice in the current political climate.
Shut Up and Dribble takes its name from Fox News conservative pundit Laura Ingraham’s remarks to James in February after players from the Golden State Warriors declined an invitation to the White House after the 2018 NBA Finals.
James and Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment are producing the series with Showtime Sports Documentary Films. Gotham Chopra will direct and serve as executive producer alongside James, Carter, Rich Paul, Martin Desmond Roe, Chris Uetwiller and Datari Turner.
Shut Up and Dribble is expected to premiere this October on Showtime.
“If being a star athlete is inherently a political experience, Shut Up and Dribble tells that complex and dramatic story from the past to the present and from the inside out,” said David Nevins, president and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc., in a statement. “LeBron James is one of many competitors whose place in the spotlight has led not to silence but perspective, and he, Maverick Carter and Gotham Chopra have given us an important, insightful docuseries that should bring their fans and fellow citizens to a higher level of discourse, rather than the dismissal satirized in the title.”
Elsewhere, Showtime will premiere Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI (w/t) from Academy and Emmy Award-winning director Alex Gibney this November.
Produced by Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, the tentatively titled four-part docuseries will provide an in-depth look into the long and complex history between the White House and the FBI, from Nixon and Hoover to Trump and Comey.
According to Showtime, the series will use the present as a prism to examine the lessons that have held up over time, which ones haven’t, and how the current investigation of the Trump administration might turn out.
Enemies will combine intimate interviews with current and former officials, and with journalists who broke the stories, with rare archival video, audio and photographs.
The series is inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner’s book, Enemies: A History of the FBI.
Jigsaw’s Gibney, Stacey Offman and Richard Perello serve as executive producers alongside Sarah Dowland, who also serves as showrunner. Vinnie Malhotra takes an executive producer credit for Showtime.
Gibney will direct the feature-length grand finale episode. Jed Rothstein, meanwhile, directs the first three episodes with Svetlana Zill, Sarit G. Work and Emily S. Chapman producing. Tim Weiner is a consulting producer.
Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI debuts Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
(AP Photo of LeBron James/Tony Dejak)