SBD/February 4, 2011/Media

MLB Giants Players To Review Plans For Showtime Series Before Production Continues

Sabean says Showtime, MLB Productions reps will discuss series with Giants players
MLB Giants Senior VP & GM Brian Sabean Thursday said that Giants players "will review plans for a potential television series about the team during a meeting Friday, since their approval is necessary before production -- which already has begun -- can continue," according to Chris Haft of MLB.com. Sabean said that reps from Showtime and MLB Productions, the entities collaborating on the project, "will discuss their vision for the show with 25 to 30 Giants players and coaches in town for Saturday's FanFest at AT&T Park." Sabean "acknowledged that 'consternation' about the program arose when the venture was publicly announced last month by Showtime and MLB Productions." A news release "trumpeting the series promised that it would be 'unscripted' and feature 'unprecedented team access.'" That created a "widespread impression that the Giants would be subjects of an intrusive reality show that could distract them from baseball." Sabean: "They shot themselves in the foot with the release." Sabean "didn't explicitly say whether players would vote to approve or reject participating in the show," but he indicated that they would "have to be convinced that the undertaking would be worthwhile." Sabean: "The way it was pitched to us, it's more of a docu-drama." He indicated that he "received the impression that the show would be 'player-centric' in a positive sense" (MLB.com, 2/3).

QUESTIONS REMAIN: The S.F. Chronicle's Henry Schulman said of the series, "Supposedly it's going to be a highly edited, non-controversial look at some of the players behind the scenes. That remains to be seen. Reportedly, the Giants and MLB are going to have the final say editorially on what's going to be in there. But there's going to be pressure from Showtime, there absolutely will be, and they're going to look for some controversy" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/2). CSNBAYAREA.com's Barry Tompkins wrote of the series, "Done right it will give America a fresh and unique view of the inner workings of a baseball clubhouse by giving insight into what is widely considered one of the best in the game. But it is a path wrought with minefields." Tompkins added, "Having done documentaries and long stories in inner sanctums not previously seen by the viewing public I can offer up a couple of 'Watch outs' for the Giants. While the team has editorial license, it doesn't have control over what the players do or say in front of the cameras. Even if none of the dicey stuff gets on the air, there could still be problems. The front office folks who are reviewing the rough cuts are likely to hear things that were not meant for their ears." Tompkins: "It could all work.  I -- and the Giants front office -- really hope it does. But, if it all comes falling down around them, I can almost promise that it won't be because of what gets on the air. It'll be because of what doesn't" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 2/2).

PR STUNT? In California, Jason Turbow reports Giants P Brian Wilson visited Twitter's HQs Wednesday with the World Series trophy. Wilson earlier this week restarted his Twitter account, and has "already acquired more than 18,000 followers." But a "more likely reason for his visit is the upcoming Showtime reality series." Turbow: "If this is the type of content Showtime is banking on as a centerpiece for its series, it's both good and bad news. Good in that the network might actually follow through on the promise to be non-invasive when it comes to cameras in the clubhouse. Bad in that as entertaining as Wilson might be, there's only so much one can take of pre-cooked meetings between athletes and their admirers" (BAYCITIZEN.org, 2/4).
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San Francisco Giants, MLB, Showtime, Media

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