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Volume 25 No. 30
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HBO Brings Out The Stars For Premieres Of New Serena Series

Big names for the premier included (l-r) Peter Nelson, Richard Plepler, Williams and Mark Shapiro
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

HBO hosted a couple hundred media types last night for the premiere of “BEING SERENA” at N.Y.'s Time Warner Center. HBO screened the series’ first two episodes, which follow tennis star SERENA WILLIAMS through her pregnancy and birth of her daughter. Future episodes in the five-part docu-series will detail Williams’ attempts to return to the WTA. Williams attended the event along with her husband, Reddit co-Founder ALEXIS OHANIAN, her 7-month-old daughter ALEXIS OLYMPIA and her sister VENUS. The guest list included sports media luminaries like Endeavor co-President MARK SHAPIRO, HBO Chair & CEO RICHARD PLEPLER, Endeavor Senior VP and Williams’ agent JILL SMOLLER and HBO Sports Exec VP PETER NELSON. Others in attendance included Vogue Editor in Chief ANNA WINTOUR, CNN's DON LEMON and models GIGI and BELLA HADID. N.Y.-based reporters on the scene included the author of the ESPN book “Those Guys Have All the Fun” JIM MILLER, the Wall Street Journal’s JASON GAY, Newsday’s NEIL BEST, Sporting News’ MICHAEL MCCARTHY and Multichannel News’ R. THOMAS UMSTEAD. The series, which is a co-production between HBO Sports and IMG Original Content Group, debuts on HBO May 2 (John Ourand, Staff Writer).

NO SLOWING DOWN: Williams promoted the series with an appearance last night on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” where host JIMMY FALLON noted fans "get to see a lot of you and the family." Fallon: "Did it take a lot of convincing to do?” Williams: “I actually wanted to do it. It started out as my idea, what I wanted to do to just give to my daughter later on in life." Fallon: “We get to see a side of you that we normally really don't get to see.” Williams: “Normally, you see me on the tennis court grunting, being angry, doing angry things every now and then, but this is different. This is me.” Williams said despite being a new mom, she is "going to play" the French Open (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 4/25).