20th Century Fox Acquires ‘ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun’; Will Tell Story Of Sports Network Dynasty

By | Monday July 25, 2011 @ 4:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox is closing a deal for screen rights to the oral history ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun. The studio will develop a feature about the formation of the 24-hour sports network. The pic will be produced by Michael De Luca, Trigger Street’s Dana Brunetti and Julie Yorn. The book by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales follows a format similar to Live From New York, the oral history they wrote about Saturday Night Live. Here, they use the voices of past and present ESPN personalities and producers to tell the story of how a father and son maxed out their credit cards to scrape together the cash to reserve a satellite transponder so they could show sporting events nonstop on a 24-hour station. The book is a gossipy journey about how that venture turned from a 1970s joke that started with broadcasts of Australian rules football and rodeo, to a dominant brand in the sporting world that broadcast pro football and baseball games and become arguably the most profitable cable network ever created. Read More »

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Martin Scorsese Eyes Film About Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton Love Affair

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is finalizing a deal to develop a feature about the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as a directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. The film will be produced by Julie Yorn, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff Foster Productions, and Scorsese through his Paramount-based Sikelia banner. They are assembling the resources to tell Hollywood’s most  famous star-crossed love story.

They’ve optioned Furious Love, the book by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger that was published by HarperCollins last year. At the same time, the producers have a rights agreement with Burton’s estate, and a pledge of cooperation from his widow, Sally Hay Burton, to make his library available as a resource. The filmmakers have also reached out to the estate of Taylor with the same hopes. A screenwriter will be hired shortly.

I’m told that Paramount made the book deal as other parties pursued the book, with other suitors including Oscar-winning Black Swan star Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech Oscar-winning scribe David Seidler. All this for a book that got 100 passes when initially shopped for a movie deal by the author’s reps, Justin Manask and David Kuhn. Film interest in the book — for which Taylor made available many of the love letters Burton wrote to her over the years — grew when Taylor passed away in March and reports focused on the relationship between Taylor and Burton. Read More »

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