LeBron James Forging Own Path With Entertainment Ventures
LEBRON JAMES' "foray into the entertainment industry" is something "previously unseen in Tinseltown," according to Josh Peter of USA TODAY. Off the court, James' "success will be measured by Nielsen ratings, box office receipts and critics' reviews." STEVE STOUTE, who along with James co-produced the HBO documentary "STUDENT-ATHLETE," said that James is "engaged in the entertainment projects." Stoute: "He has an active interest in reading scripts and looking at content, and knowing what stories he wants his name attached to." Peter notes it "hasn't taken long for James to capitalize" on living in L.A. In July, paparazzi "got tipped off and documented James emerging with AL PACINO and LEONARDO DICAPRIO after dinner." James' recent "off-the-court moves" include securing director RYAN COOGLER to help produce the "SPACE JAM" sequel; the debut of his own show, "THE SHOP," on HBO; and the "development of the documentary 'SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE.'" In '15, James and SpringHill Entertainment CEO MAVERICK CARTER negotiated a three-year deal with Warner Bros. that "included an exclusive television deal, a coveted first-look movie deal and space on the studio's lot." As of '17, Carter and James' SpringHill had aired three shows: "THE LEBRONS," an animated YouTube series; "SURVIVOR'S REMORSE," a sports sitcom on Starz; and "BECOMING," a sports docu-series on Disney XD. After those came a "successful game show on NBC" called "THE WALL," and "CLEVELAND HUSTLES," a CNBC show that is "spinning off into a series" (USA TODAY, 10/17).
SHOP TALK: In L.A., Kyle Goon writes HBO's "The Shop" has "offered some insight into the reach of James' celebrity." The closeness of James' relationship with DRAKE was "on display in the second episode," in which the rapper "made a lengthy appearance" with James and Carter. While NBA stars have been on the show, "so have rappers like Drake and SNOOP DOGG, as well as comedian JON STEWART" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/17).