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OJ Doc Director Helped Shape Filming Of The Last Dance

“Michael Jordan sat down with Hehir and his crew for three separate interviews during a span of 15 months in the making of The Last Dance.”

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Everyone is talking about ESPN’s The Last Dance. The docu-series is routinely pulling down big audiences and drawing interest across a wide spectrum of media. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic sat down with director Jason Hehir for a column that came out on Monday to discuss how the interviews with Michael Jordan came together.

Hehir revealed that a lot of the way the film was made was influenced by a conversation he had with Ezra Edelman, director of the Oscar-winning 30 for 30 docu-series OJ Simpson: Made in America.

“He asked me why I wanted to interview Michael first and I said that that’s just what I normally do,” Hehir told Deitsch. “I told him I get the first big one out of the way and then kind of have all these other interviews rotate around them like a satellite. Ezra said that’s not the way he would do it. By the end of that dinner, I decided that he was right for a story this big. I needed to get certain basics down first before I went to Michael.”

One device Hehir has used that has become a favorite of the audience is Jordan reacting to video of other people talking about interactions with him. The director revealed that it was a practice designed to make sure The Last Dance featured new quotes and perspectives from someone that has had every moment of his basketball career dissected and fawned over.

“My goal all along was: He’s been asked every question so let’s deviate from the format in which he’s been asked these questions in the past. And that might mean pulling out an iPad or showing him the clip on an iPhone.”

Michael Jordan sat down with Hehir and his crew for three separate interviews during a span of 15 months in the making of The Last Dance. The first conversation and the final one each lasted three hours. Hehir told Dietsch that spending that much time with the main characters of a documentary is a common practice. In fact, in comparison to some of his past documentaries, the total time Hehir spent with Jordan was minuscule in scale.

“To put it in perspective: Andre the Giant (which Hehir directed for HBO) was 80 minutes long and we got Vince McMahon for five and a half hours over the course of two days,” He told Deitsch. “The Fab Five was 100 minutes long and I got Jalen Rose for seven hours. So I wasn’t asking Michael to have those same proportions. I wasn’t going to ask him to give me 80 hours to get 10 hours.”

The full interview sheds light on how Hehir approached difficult subjects including Jordan’s gambling, the death of his father, and the rumor that his 1993 retirement was a way to cover up what was really a suspension.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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