ESPN's "Venus Vs." Is First Installment Of "Nine For IX" Series
ESPN at 8:00pm ET will premiere "Venus Vs.," a documentary about tennis player Venus Williams that marks the first installment in the net's "Nine for IX" film series marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The film "sets a tone for the series," capturing Williams' "fight to bring equal prize money to women's tennis." VARIETY's Brian Lowry writes the hour-long film is "at its best when focusing on the energy Williams' arrival as a teenage phenom brought to the sport" (VARIETY.com, 7/1). Director Ava DuVernay said that she was "turned down for interviews almost universally by current and former male players, with the notable exception of John McEnroe." NEWSDAY's Neil Best wrote, "If ESPN has ratings expectations for the series, it isn't saying" (NEWSDAY, 6/29).
ABC's Josh Elliott today said of the film series and the impact of Title IX, "There are generations now of young women in this country ... who won't ever know that once upon a time this had to happen and they need to know about the pioneers" ("GMA," ABC, 7/2).