It's been awhile since we've seen a "realistic" football-themed show on television. The wait appears to be over - HBO has ordered the pilot of Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), and it'll be interesting how this compares to ESPN's critically-acclaimed, short-lived Playmakers series. Here are the details of the show from Deadline.
Ballers is exploring the lives of a group of former and current football players. Johnson stars as Spencer Strasmore, a retired athlete. The cast includes Omar Benson Miller as Charles, an affable former pro athlete who is searching for his next career; Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete; Rob Corddry as Joe, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in; Troy Garity as Jason, a top-tier sports agent; Donovan Carter as Vernon, a deeply family-oriented pro athlete; Jazmyn Simon as Julie, wife of an ex-pro athlete; Taylor Cole as Michaels, an ESPN sideline reporter who is romantically involved with Spencer; and LeToya Luckett as Tina, widow to one of Spencer’s closest friends.
OK, so maybe it's not going to be the next Playmakers. But then again, Johnson is just one of several executive producers of the show, along with Mark Wahlberg, Steve Levinson, Evan Reilly, and Peter Berg - that's a pretty loaded crew. The pilot was written by Levinson, and directed by Berg, which should raise expectations.
Production will start later this year. Hopefully, Ballers ends up being more like Playmakers instead of an Entourage-type show with football just thrown in there for the hell of it.