17/10/2018

ESPN and Netflix team up for a 10-hour documentary on Michael Jordan and the Bulls

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ESPN and Netflix team up for a 10-hour documentary on Michael Jordan and the Bulls

Netflix and ESPN Films are collaborating on “The Last Dance,” a 10-hour documentary on the simultaneous rise of Michael Jordan, his Bulls and the NBA that’s scheduled to make its debut on both outlets in 2019. ESPN also announced an interview series, "Pivot with Alex Rodriguez."

Netflix and ESPN Films are collaborating on “The Last Dance,” a 10-hour documentary on the simultaneous rise of Michael Jordan, his Bulls and the NBA that’s scheduled to make its debut on both outlets in 2019. ESPN also announced an interview series, "Pivot with Alex Rodriguez."

Michael Jordan and the 1990s Bulls are coming to Netflix for your binge-watching pleasure.

Netflix and ESPN Films are collaborating on “The Last Dance,” a 10-hour documentary on the simultaneous rise of Jordan and the NBA that’s scheduled to debut next year on both outlets.

ESPN announced the Jordan project in conjunction with its upfront sales presentation to advertisers Tuesday in New York, where it also announced “Pivot with Alex Rodriguez.”

Rodriguez’s four-part series for ESPN and ESPN Deportes will feature interviews with athletes facing career challenges. It’s set to run later this baseball season.

“The Last Dance” will be produced by Mandalay Sports Media in association with NBA Entertainment and Jordan’s Jump.23, and as such enjoys the full participation of Jordan and other key figures from the Bulls’ title teams.

ESPN said the series will feature other notable figures in and outside of basketball, and draw from more than 500 hours of previously untapped footage from the Bulls’ last championship run in 1997-98.

Jason Heir, whose well-received documentaries include "Andre the Giant," "The '85 Bears" and “The Fab Five," will direct.

Mandalay Sports Media co-chair Mike Tollin — whose work includes "Coach Carter," "Varsity Blues," "Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream," "Small Potatoes: Who Killed The USFL?," "The Bronx is Burning," "Smallville," "One Tree Hill" and "Arli$$" — is executive producer.

As for “Pivot,” Rodriguez not only will host the program but serve as executive producer.

And if anyone knows about pivoting from career challenges, it’s Rodriguez, whose reputation resurrection after an association with PEDs will be studied by image consultants for years to come.

“Alex knows as well as anybody what it’s like to have his life and career play out in a very public fashion," said Freddy Rolon, ESPN Deportes' vice president and general manager, in the announcement.

"Change can be good, and even necessary, for athletes facing their most difficult moments,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “However, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to turn the lens inward while living life in the public arena.

“I’m looking forward to uncovering personal stories the world deserves to hear, while sharing the lessons I’ve learned — sometimes through the hard way.”

philrosenthal@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @phil_rosenthal

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