SBD/March 14, 2014/Media

CBS Set To Air Documentary On Annual NBA Summer League Exhibition

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CBS on Saturday will debut a documentary exploring the ’13 NBA Summer League and several players’ aspirations of breaking through to the next level. “Summer Dreams,” a two-hour film narrated by actor Chris Noth, airs at 8:00pm ET following the Mountain West Conference championship game. It looks at a two-week portion of the NBA calendar in July that has gone largely uncovered until now, said Exec Producer Mike Tollin. “This story hasn’t really been told yet, a part of the NBA that hasn’t really gotten much exposure. That’s attractive,” said Tollin, who has worked on various ESPN “30 for 30” films, “Arli$$" and “Coach Carter.” Tollin hatched the idea for the film with CBS Exec VP/Alternative Programming Chris Castallo, who told him the net was “hungry for unscripted storytelling that might appeal to younger and predominately male demographics.” The film showcases two first-round picks in the '13 NBA Draft, Mavericks G Shane Larkin and 76ers G Michael Carter-Williams, along with a pair of other players, Romero Osby and Dwayne Davis, who are trying to break into the league. It also follows referee Lauren Holtkamp as she attempts to become a full-time female official in the NBA, and little-known coach Joel Abelson. “The idea was to come up with a cross-section of characters that would represent the full spectrum of the NBA family,” Tollin said. “The lottery players are going to get guaranteed seven-figure contracts, so there is less at stake for them than a guy who is literally fighting for his livelihood.”

COULD BE ADAPTED INTO A WEEKLY SERIES: The Summer League is split between Las Vegas (22 teams) and Orlando (10 teams), but Tollin and his crew of more than a dozen cameras spent most of their time in Sin City due to the potential for more storylines. He said Las Vegas is the “colorful league, the one that’s really set up for a big audience.” Tollin: “They’ll have 10,000 people on a good day, there’s a lot more activity and stories to uncover.” Depending on the film’s success, Tollin said it could turn into either a weekly series on a to-be-determined channel or an annual project. “There was a general sense that they (the NBA) would love to increase the profile of the league,” Tollin said. “They get it that their players are everything and that’s what attracts fans.” “Summer Dreams” was produced by Raquel Productions in association with Mandalay Sports Media, with Jon Weinbach serving as co-Exec Producer.
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