EXCLUSIVE: HBO Sports is re-teaming with filmmaker Peter Berg for another documentary series. Following their collaboration on the cinéma vérité series On Freddie Roach, HBO has given the green light to State Of Play, from Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 and Herzog & Co. Each episode will spotlight a topic or person that has had a great impact on the sports world, opening with a brief overview followed by a 40-minute cinéma vérité documentary and concluding with an in-depth, 20-minute roundtable discussion of the issue with the filmmakers, subjects and guest experts to be moderated by Berg. State Of Play will premiere on December 4 with State of Play: Trophy Kids, an examination of the obsession a growing number of parents have in the scholastic athletic competition of their children. The documentary was produced by Jake Wood, Chris Bell, Leland Anderson and Anthony Melillo.
UPDATE, MONDAY AM: A lot of great news for Liev Schreiber this morning. His deal with Showtime to star in the drama pilot Ray Donovan formally closed, and the network just made the official announcement. And, in what appears to be a change of heart, HBO Sports has renewed its overall deal with the actor to continue to be the voice of virtually all HBO documentaries as well as the 24/7 reality series, and the NFL reality series Hard Knocks. During the lengthy negotiations, HBO had considered not to re-up the overall with Schreiber and open up the field to other narrators, but in the end it extended Schreiber. I hear that the actor’s Showtime series contract allows for that.
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: With a deal to star in Showtime’s pilot Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber may one day become the face of the pay cable network. But at the same time, it looks like he will no longer be the exclusive voice of the sports division of rival HBO. I’ve learned that HBO is planning not to renew its overall deal with the actor to be the the voice of HBO Sports, which has included narrating virtually all HBO sports documentaries, the 24/7 reality series, and the NFL reality series Hard Knocks. HBO is not severing ties with Schreiber, who has been voicing HBO Sports’ programs for the past 16 years. “Liev is set to start work next week on his next HBO Sports project, 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, HBO Sports said in a statement, declining further comment. I hear that Schreiber also is scheduled to do another HBO Sports project in January.
Ross Greenburg, who in July departed as president of HBO Sports, has been tapped to produce documentaries for the newly formed NBC Sports Group, which includes the NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel and NBC. He also will produce Costas …