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No need to wait till next year for HBO’s Cubs documentary

Following on the critical success of its “Curse of the Bambino” documentary in 2003, HBO Sports is planning to tackle Chicago’s Billy Goat curse with “Wait ’Til Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs.” The documentary is scheduled to debut on HBO at 10 p.m. on Sept. 26.

It tells the story of the Cubs’ nearly 100-year championship drought through the eyes of the team’s most ardent supporters, including HBO’s Bryant Gumbel and “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Jeff Garland.

One fan the producers were not able to get on-camera is Steve Bartman, who is blamed by legions of Cubs fans for causing the team to lose a 2003 championship series to the Florida Marlins. Though producers contacted him several times, he never consented to an on-camera interview.

“We will never give up,” said HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg, who is an executive producer of the documentary. “If we get him on camera before Sept. 26, we will include him in the documentary. … We talked to just about every one of his relatives.”

“Wait ’Til Next Year” continues HBO’s history of creating baseball-themed documentaries. In the past several years, HBO Sports has created docs on Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, among others. It plans to roll out one on the Brooklyn Dodgers next year. But Greenberg said HBO plans to tackle other subjects, including a documentary on NASCAR that’s planned for next year.

“Wait ’Til Next Year” is part of HBO’s “Sports of the 20th Century” series. Rick Bernstein joins Greenburg as an executive producer; Joe Lavine is the producer; Brian Hyland is the coordinating producer; and Brian Keane is composing the original music.

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