SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Media

HBO sets Flood doc for day after All-Star Game

HBO Sports has picked the day after MLB’s All-Star Game to run its still-to-be-titled documentary on Curt Flood, a former Major League Baseball player who is considered one of the pioneers of the free agent era.

Curt Flood
AP IMAGES
Curt Flood refused to accept a trade in 1969.
The documentary is scheduled to run in prime time on July 13. It is being produced by Ezra Edelman, who handled the network’s “Magic & Bird” documentary last year and its Brooklyn Dodgers documentary in 2007.

The story of Flood, who refused to accept a trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies in 1969, is being produced as the NFL and NBA face labor disputes. But HBO executives said the timing of the documentary is coincidental.

“The timing is uncanny,” said Joe Lavine, vice president of sports documentaries at HBO. “Did we see the labor problems coming? Is that the reason we’re doing this? Yeah, a little. But most importantly to us, this is a good story. We’re always looking for interesting characters.”

Lavine said Edelman had long wanted to do a documentary on Flood, who lost his case before the Supreme Court while fighting the trade. Edelman approached HBO executives about doing the documentary last fall.

The documentary will include interviews with Marvin Miller, Bob Gibson and Flood’s former wife, Judy, “who gives a whole personal side to Curt Flood that you wouldn’t get from others,” Lavine said.

Lavine believes the documentary will clear up some misconceptions of Flood’s role in the free agent process.

“A lot of people think Curt Flood started free agency,” Lavine said. “That’s not necessarily true.”

HBO has one documentary planned for the fourth quarter of this year, but executives are not saying what the subject will be. HBO executives say it likely will tackle a football topic, given the 4.1 million total viewers that tuned into last fall’s “Lombardi” documentary on the network.

HBO's 2010 Documentary Viewership
SHOW
PREMIERE DATE
NO. OF VIEWERS
"Magic & Bird"
March 6
6 million
"Lombardi"
Dec. 11
4.1 million
"Broad Street Bullies"
May 4
3.5 million
Note: Numbers represent an aggregate number of viewers for all airings of the documentary.
Source: HBO Sports



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