In news that has been met with near unanimous approval, ESPN has decided to expand their popular "30 for 30" documentary series with another set of 30 films to roll out between now and 2014. The news was first was reported by Rich Sandomir of the New York Times, later explained by executive producer Bill Simmons, and presented by ESPN at their Upfront presentations yesterday in New York.
"30 for 30" has been an unabashed success for the network, making some of the finest sports documentaries ever seen. The original documentaries are about as far away form the contrived carnival barking too often seen on the network on a daiily basis. Yes, not all of the original 30 documentaries were a hit, and it will be impossible for Part II to bat 1.000 either. But, fans can certainly come to expect more great television over the next two years, along with several other goodies to enhance the "30 for 30" experience. Here are the major takeaways after digging through the details on the second installment of "30 for 30"...
-The initial lineup of docs being touted for "30 for 30" looks just as strong as its predecessor. The full list can be found here, but a highlight looks to be "Bo Knows" - the story of the legend of Bo Jackson. Another winner will certainly be "The Season of Their Lives" focusing on the 1983 N.C. State basketball team. Not only was their championship one of the most unlikely in history, but the fate of those connected to the team like Jim Valvano and Lorenzo Charles has been tragic in the years since their triumph. "Benji," the story of a Chicago prep phenom in the mid-80s gunned who was gunned down in high school, also seems like exactly the type of story that "30 for 30" thrives on bringing to the masses.
This preliminary list doesn't include the award-winning documentary "Senna", which we first revealed would air under the ESPN Films banner later this year. It's unclear whether "Senna" will be a part of the new 30 for 30 or will appear separately under the ESPN Films banner when it airs in late July.