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Judd Apatow Taps LeBron James For Universal Comedy ‘Trainwreck’

By | Wednesday May 7, 2014 @ 2:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

lebLeBron James, whose Miami Heat trounced the Brooklyn Nets in the opening game of the second round of the NBA playoffs last night, had time to tweet that he has closed a deal to join the cast of Trainwreck. That’s the Universal comedy that Judd Apatow will direct and also just also got Cliff (Method Man) Smith. Script is by the film’s star, rising comedienne Amy Schumer. James joins her, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, John Cena and Mike Birbiglia.

Related: LeBron James High School Tale A Jump Ball With Four Studios Courting

This comes after Universal bought a pic about the formative years of James and his high school teammates that will be scripted by Frank E. Flowers, with Rachel Winter and Terence Winter producing with James and his manager, Maverick Carter. As if that wasn’t enough, James, who just moved from CAA to WME, had been expected to make his feature starring debut opposite Kevin Hart in the Universal/Imagine Entertainment film Ballers.

Related: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’
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LeBron James High School Tale A Jump Ball With Four Studios Courting

By | Thursday May 1, 2014 @ 6:33pm PDT
Mike Fleming

lebron-james-in-high-school-1010-lgEXCLUSIVE: A feature based on the high school years of Miami Heat star LeBron James is in play, and I’m hearing there are two offers on the table, with at least two more expected by tomorrow. The project is based on a pitch by Frank E. Flowers, with Terence Winter and Rachel Winter attached to produce with James and his manager Maverick Carter. The deal is expected to be sealed before the weekend. Winter is the creator of Boardwalk Empire, and he was Oscar nominated for his The Wolf Of Wall Street script. Rachel Winter is his wife, and she was Oscar nominated for Dallas Buyers Club.

Related: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’

James has led the Heat to two straight NBA championships, and the team is waiting to see who it will play in the second round of the playoffs. Since he went right from high school to the NBA and became an instant star and the most outsized talent since Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, you might wonder what drama his formative years could have. Actually, that story was captured in the docu More Than A Game. It is as much about the story of his high school team as it is about LeBron. The team from Akron, Ohio, went from obscurity to  become an AAU powerhouse, and the challenge became about handling the growing fame of James and keeping together the players who had formed such a close bond.

Related: Starz Picks Up Basketball Comedy From LeBron James & Mike O’Malley To Series
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Starz Casts Quintet In Basketball Comedy ‘Survivor’s Remorse’

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 10:32am PDT

Jessie T. Usherronreacoleejessieusher (Level Up), Ronreaco Lee (Glory, Let’s Stay Together), Erica Ash (Scary Movie 5, The Real Husbands Of Hollywood), Tichina Arnold (Martin, Everybody Hates Chris) and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men, They Came Together) have signed on to Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse, a half-hour scripted comedy series executiveericaashtichinaarnold produced by NBA star LeBron James, Mike O’Malley, Tom Werner, James’ manager Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter. Survivors Remorse is set in the world of professional basketball and explores the comedy and drama of what truly happens when you make it out. Story follows Cam Calloway teyonah(Usher), a basketball phenom in his early 20s who is thrust into the limelight after signing a multimillion-dollar contract with a pro team. Cam, along with his cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn (Lee), move to Georgia to start Cam’s journey to success. The two confront the challenges of carrying opportunistic family members and their strong ties to the impoverished community that they come from. Ash, repped by DBA and Principato-Young, will play M-Chuck, Cam Calloway’s sister. Arnold, with APA and Zenay R. Arnold, will play Cassie, Cam’s mother; and Parris, with APA and Vanguard Management, will play Reggie’s wife Missy. Usher is repped by Paradigm and Williams Unlimited; Lee by APA, Principato-Young Entertainment … Read More »

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Ebersols Aboard To Produce And Script Warner Bros’ ‘Space Jam 2′ As A Starring Vehicle For LeBron James

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 4:10pm PST

p-jamlogoEXCLUSIVE: What’s up, doc? A broken nose. Ouch! After he recovers from the injury suffered in last night’s game, NBA MVP LeBron James will be ready for his close-up — with Bugs Bunny.

Broadcasting veteran Dick Ebersol‘s sons have come on board to develop the sequel to 1996 animated/live-action hit Space Jam as a starring vehicle for James. The player is the Miami Heat Miami Heat Media Day - Miamistar who broke his nose during last night’s game against the Oklahoma City when the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka got him in the face after a dunk.

Related:
Here’s The Real ‘Twins’ Sequel: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’

Another Space Jam film? Why not? The first film, which broke ground for Warner Bros and starred then-Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan and a slew of other top NBA players, ended up grossing $230M worldwide for the studio.

Related: Starz Picks Up Basketball Comedy From LeBron James & Mike O’Malley To Series

charlie ebersolCharlie Ebersol, who already has a good relationship with the NFL through his NFL Characters Unite series on USA Network, is about ready to do the same with the NBA. He has been brought on to the produce the picture through his production company, The Company, from a script by his brother Willie Ebersol. The latter won an Emmy for the London Olympics. This is his first screenplay.

Related: Warner Bros Sets ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel For May 2017
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Starz Picks Up Basketball Comedy From LeBron James & Mike O’Malley To Series

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 11:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Lebron James Starz Basketball ComedyStarz has given an official series pickup to Survivor’s Remorse, a half-hour scripted comedy series executive produced by NBA star LeBron James, Mike O’Malley, Tom Werner, James’ manager Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter. I hear the order is for 6 episodes. The project, written by O’Malley, had been on fast-track development and considered a front-runner for the Q4 slot that became open in December when Starz pulled out of itsstarz commitment to Sky Atlantic’s upcoming drama series Fortitude. Survivor’s Remorse, which had assembled a small writers room and had started preliminary casting for the two leads in anticipation of a series pickup, will debut next fall. Its green light comes on the heels of Starz ordering ballet drama Flesh And Bone for 2015. Read More »

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Here’s The Real ‘Twins’ Sequel: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 4:57pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Hart is signing on to star with LeBron James in Ballers, Lebron James Kevin Hart Ballersthe basketball comedy for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer and Michael Rosenberg are producing.

Hart will first co-write the comedy along with his scripting teammates Joey Wells, Chris Spencer and Harry Ratchford. He’ll then star as a man who lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (James), but gets a chance to prove himself when he and some pals attend a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami.  Hart is certainly dominant in the stand-up arena, but posting up against this screen sibling could be dangerous. Hart is under 5’3″ while James is a towering 6’8.” That kind of sibling size differential hasn’t been seen since Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in another Universal comedy, Twins. They’ll sign a director when Hart and his cohorts turn in the script. The plan is to start production next summer when James has time off. Read More »

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Starz Developing Half-Hour Comedy With Tom Werner, Mike O’Malley, LeBron James

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 7:35am PDT

Starz is developing a half-hour scripted series Survivor’s Remorse with NBA all-star LeBron James, comedy exec producers Tom Werner, Mike O’Malley, Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter. The series explores what happens to Cam Calloway and Reggie Vaughn when they make it out of one of Philly’s toughest neighborhoods. James and Carter have been in business with Werner since 2011, when they partnered with Fenway Sports Group, one of the largest sports, media and entertainment companies in the world. Werner is Chairman of FSG, which owns soccer’s Liverpool Football Club and baseball’s Boston Red Sox. Wachter, a prominent Los Angeles-based financial adviser, has been business partners with James and Carter since 2004 and with Werner since he sold the Padres as Werner’s investment adviser in 1995. O’Malley, a consulting producer/writer on Showtime’s Shameless and an actor whose credits include Glee, Justified and My Name Is Earl, will serve as executive producer and writer. “For Maverick and I even to be where we are right now, given where we came from, is kind of hard to believe,” James said in this morning’s announcement. “I felt like it was a story that needed to be told, and nobody can craft a story like Tom Werner. He has an incredible vision for television and I’m really excited to partner with … Read More »

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LeBron James Leaves CAA With Agent Pal; Start Of Sports Representation Shake-Up?

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 3:37am PDT

UPDATED: I don’t follow the daily ins and outs of the sports agency biz — but I try my best to keep up with powerhouse CAA‘s when it makes headlines. So I’ve confirmed that basketball superstar LeBron James just made another “Decision”: he has left his veteran sports agent Leon Rose at CAA and followed his childhood friend, young CAA agent Rich Paul, out the tenpercentery’s door. LeBron is joining Paul’s new representation boutique Klutch Sports Management based in Cleveland (where James played with the Cavs before infamously jumping to the Miami Heat in 2010). LeBron filed paperwork with the NBA Players’ Association on Wednesday to make it official. Meanwhile, Paul is getting officially certified to become LeBron’s third agent since the forward entered the league in 2003 and now ranks 4th on the latest Forbes’ list of richest athletes. “Paul is a good guy who’s starting a little 4-person business,” a CAA insider tells me. “We wish them well.”

The news about the three-time NBA MVP, and 2-time Olympic Gold Medallist was first tweeted by Sports Business Journal‘s Liz Mullen overnight and is causing ripples in the sports representation world. Especially because CAA was instrumental in bringing James to the Miami Heat (but did not package that TV primetime sports special The Decision about where LeBron was going to play). James’ playing contract still has $73.9 million over four years remaining. CAA will continue to reap LeBron’s rewards — until James’ player opt-outs in 2014 and 2015. This “could be the beginning of a shift of power in the NBA,” ESPN is reporting. “James was at the centerpiece of CAA’s rise to prominence in the NBA during the past five years … and made CAA a major power broker.” Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ESPY Awards & ‘Psych’ Premiere Gain In Young Viewers

Nellie Andreeva

The Saturday Night Live-flavored ESPY Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers and featuring current SNL cast member Andy Samberg and alum Will Ferrell, averaged 2.6 million viewers from 9-11:30 PM last night. The awards’ 18-49 audience was 1.7 million, which is up 30% from last year, when the ESPYs ran on Sunday. Meanwhile, the fifth season premiere of USA Network’s Psych at 10 PM posted a 15% gain in adults 18-34 from last season’s premiere, which aired behind the network’s older skewing dramedy Monk. In total viewers, Psych (3.7 million), was down 8% year-to-year. Elsewhere on cable in the 10-11 PM hour, TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland (3.0 million)held stead, while Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 (2.2 million) slipped a bit from its all-time high (2.4 million) last week.

Here is Dinner For Schmucks stars Steve Carell and Paul Rudd spoofing LaBron James’ The Decision on the ESPY Awards:

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RATINGS RAT RACE: LeBron James Is A Hit!

By | Friday July 9, 2010 @ 9:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

LeBron James’ special The Decision delivered big ratings for ESPN last night. The special, in which James announced his decision to join the Miami Heat, generated a 7.3 overnight rating from 9-10:15 p.m. ET, the highest rating for any program – on broadcast or cable – last night. It was also ESPN’s highest overnight rating for any non-NFL ESPN program this year. The telecast peaked with a 9.6 rating from 9:15-9:30 p.m., when James announced his choice.  The top three local markets were heart-broken Cleveland (26.0 metered market rating) and Columbus (14.2) and jubilant Miami (12.8). How large of an audience did James draw? Consider this: ESPN’s exclusive interview with Tiger Woods on March 21 posted a 0.4 metered market rating. ESPN’s exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez on Feb. 9, 2009 generated a 0.9 metered market. The Decision was also a hit online, generating more than 300,000 unique viewers on ESPN3.com.

LeBron James Day Tomorrow On ESPN; Wait, Which Agency Reps LeBron James?

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Wait, Which Agency Reps LeBron James?

UPDATED: You know that LeBron James hourlong primetime sports special The Decision tonight all about where he’s going to play next season? Well, it was not put together by LeBron James’ sports agency CAA. According to my Hollywood agency sources, Ari Emanuel of wme-new-logo-final smallerarch-rival tenpercentery WME was at one of the NBA playoff finals. Surely you’ve seen him at Laker games sitting in his look-at-me floor seats so courtside he gets drowned by the players’ sweat rivulets.

He began talking with LeBron’s manager Maverick Carter. (WME arranged the financing for LeBron’s documentary More Than A Game and with Carter sold it to Lionsgate.) Then sports announcer Jim Gray came over and suggested that LeBron do a TV show about the decision. (ESPN is now saying its execs were talking to LeBron’s manager about a decision-style show as far back as February during All-Star Weekend.) Emanuel immediately suggested that, instead of offering the show to a broadcast or cable network first, they package it by producing and selling ads for it themselves. The conversation ended on that note.

Carter talked to LeBron, and then Emanuel got a call from the manager telling him, ”Let’s go do this.” LeBron himself makes no money. CAAlogo smallerInstead, all the sponsor dollars are being donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs Of America. I’m told the figure raised for the charity was $3 million, and Nike pledged to match up to another $1 million.

“Richard Lovett keeps touting how he supposedly reps LeBron … Read More »

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LeBron James Day Tomorrow On ESPN

Nellie Andreeva

lebron-jamesLeBron James’ decision about where he will play next season is certainly newsworthy but to devote a one-hour prime-time special on it?! That’s what ESPN is doing with the dramatically-titled The Decision tomorrow night at 9PM. (That name is usually used by news networks for their coverage of other important events, like presidential elections.) Given that the announcement of James’ choice will take a few minutes at best, expect an hour of fillers leading to it, kinda like an American Idol results episode. (UPDATE: ESPN says James will announce his team pick in the first 15 minutes, which brings up the question: Why not do it as a 15-minute special?) And if you thought that was an overkill, ESPN also plans a three-hour SportsCenter leading into The Decision that will be devoted to James’ decision as well as an expanded two-hour SportsCenter immediately following the special, which will dissect that decision. At least James is doing it for a good cause: proceeds from The Decision will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America.

UPDATE: In a conference call with reporters, ESPN defended the editorial integrity of its decision to let James’ company LRMR Marketing sell the ad spots for The Decision, noting that the money goes to charity. ”There was no rights fee, no payment, and we will have complete editorial control over the hour,” ESPN executive VP of production Norby Williamson said.

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