NBC News says the former heavyweight champ-turned-Broadway star will sit down with Matt Lauer in Las Vegas for an interview airing tomorrow morning on Today. Mike Tyson surprised the heck out of the press last week when they showed up for what they thought was a news conference about his return to boxing as a promoter, and instead listened as he told them, “I’m a motherfucker” who has been lying for years about being sober. Sure to come up will be this statement at last Friday’s news conference cum confessional: “I’m a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. … I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don’t wanna die. I’m on the verge of dying because I’m a vicious alcoholic. Wow. God, this is some interesting stuff.”
HBO has bought TV rights to Mike Tyson’s one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. HBO Films will film the show in July for debut on HBO later in the year. The stage production features “Iron Mike” recounting his life’s highs and lows in his signature candid style. He opens up about his troubled youth, landmark boxing career, key people in his life, controversies, time in prison, self-examination, family and new beginnings. Tyson recently wrapped a 10-week U.S. tour of the production, which debuted in Las Vegas in spring 2012 and ran on Broadway last summer, with filmmaker Spike Lee directing. Lee and Tyson — who also collaborated on the HBO pilot Da Brick, a drama series inspired by Tyson’s childhood that the premium network passed on last year — are among the exec producers, as is Kiki Tyson, who also wrote; Jon Kilik; and James Nederlander.
Fox Sports 1 and boxing icon Mike Tyson today announced that their new series Being Mike Tyson will spearhead programming on the newly announced “national multi-sport network”. Tweeted @FoxSports: “The first big name to hit #FS1 this fall – @MikeTyson. The BEING: Mike Tyson series is now in production.” Earlier today NewsCorp COO Chase Carey described the Fox Sports 1 venture as a smart long term investment that could grow into “a multibillion dollar franchise” with its combination of licensed sports rights and original programming. The new network launches in August.
Related: Fox Sports 1 To Launch on August 17
Dick Wolf, creator of the Law & Order franchise, has weighed in on the controversial upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU, which guest stars former boxer Mike Tyson in his first acting gig playing someone other than himself. Tyson’s casting has come under attack from advocate groups protesting the involvement of a convicted rapist (Tyson served three years for a 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant) on a show dedicated to sex crime victims.
In the SVU episode, titled Monster’s Legacy, Tyson plays Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row whose violent actions may in part be the byproduct of sexual abuse as a child. His case attracts the attention of Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and defense attorney Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher) during an SVU investigation. Also guest starring in the episode is Ed Asner. “It focuses on what can happen when there is an emotionally charged rush to judgment and it is, in my opinion, one of our strongest episodes in the last five years,” Wolf said in a note accompanying screeners for Monster’s Legacy. Originally scheduled for Feb. 13, the episode has been moved up to Feb. 6, sparking speculation that the shift may have been made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors.
Ever since we broke the news of former boxer Mike Tyson‘s guest stint on NBC’s veteran crime drama Law & Order: SVU, the casting has become a lighting rod for controversy as it involves Tyson, who was convicted of rape 20 years ago, appearing on a show about getting justice for sex crime victims. NBC has now moved up the episode, originally scheduled for February 13, to February 6. According to the Washington Post, the move was made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors. It follows weeks of pressure from advocate groups who have protested the casting, including launching a petition asking NBC to recast the role. In a recent TV Guide interview, Tyson, who continues to profess his innocence in the 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant for which he served 3 years, defended his gig. “I’m just trying to feed my family,” he said. “I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes. I’m just trying to live my life.”
EXCLUSIVE: In his TV acting debut, former boxer Mike Tyson is going for some dark, dramatic stuff with a guest starring role on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He will play Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row whose violent actions may in part be the byproduct of a horrible childhood. His case attracts the attention of Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and defense attorney Bayard Ellis (recurring guest star Andre Braugher) during an SVU investigation. Also guest starring in the episode is Ed Asner as someone connected to the investigation.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has made a deal with Blue Rider Press for North American rights to Undisputed Truth, described as a no-holds-barred tell-all memoir that chronicles Tyson’s journey from tumultuous past to tranquil present. The book will be published next summer and Blue Rider Press president and publisher David Rosenthal acquired the rights from David Vigliano and Anthony Mattero at Vigliano Associates. This guy has been through it all, winning the championship with devastating knockout power, making millions, and then suffering an unbelievable fall from grace. He lost his belt to Buster Douglas, the first time he was knocked out. Then he bit the ears off Evander Holyfield in the ring and was disqualified. There was a rape conviction and drug addiction, symbolizing a rage he was simply unable to control. He has finally pulled himself together, it seems. He headlined a well received one man Broadway show directed by Spike Lee, and turned in a memorable supporting turn in The Hangover. I’m sure he’s got more than enough stories to fill a book. Larry “Ratso” Sloman, best known as Howard Stern’s collaborator on Private Parts and Miss America, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis’s memoir Scar Tissue, will collaborate with Tyson.
Stephen Espinoza, most recently a partner at entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenham, has been tapped as EVP and General Manager of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, the network announced today. He will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the group and its pay-per-view unit; managing relationships with distributors, talent and suppliers; and the acquisition and licensing of programming. The move is the final one in a game of musical chairs that began when longtime HBO Sports chief Ross Greenburg left after 33 years at the premium channel. He was replaced last month by Showtime’s sports head, Ken Hershman, leaving the vacancy at Showtime that Espinoza has now filled. (Greenburg landed last week at a producer at NBC Sports Group.) While at Ziffren Brittenham, Espinoza repped numerous A-list film and TV clients, He also handled boxers Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya and was lead counsel for De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which makes him a perfect fit for Showtime’s boxing-heavy sports programming that also includes Strikeforce mixed martial arts and Inside The NFL. He also repped Gina Carano, the MMA standout that is now starring in Steven Soderbergh’s fight drama Haywire.
After a long search, newcomer John Boyega (Attack the Block) has landed the lead in HBO’s newly picked up drama pilot Da Brick, from Spike Lee, John Ridley, Doug Ellin and Mike Tyson. Boyega will play the central character, Donnie, in the ensemble drama, which was inspired in part by Tyson’s youth and explores what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America. Released from juvenile detention on his 18th birthday, Donnie begins an exploration of what it means to be a man both for himself, and to those around him. The role does require boxing skills. Lee is directing the pilot from a script by Ridley. Ellin, Ridley, Lee, Tyson and Jim Lefkowitz are executive producing.
HBO Picks Up Boxing Drama ‘Da Brick’ To Pilot; Doug Ellin, Spike Lee, Mike Tyson And John Ridley Executive Produce
EXCLUSIVE: It looks like Da Brick is a go at HBO. I hear the pay cable network has handed out a pilot order to the drama project about a young boxer from Entourage creator Doug Ellin, filmmaker Spike Lee, former boxing champion Mike Tyson and writer John Ridley. Ridley wrote the script for the pilot, which will be directed by Lee. Set in current-day Newark, NJ, nicknamed “brick city,” Da Brick is described as a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America and is loosely inspired by aspects of Tyson’s youth. Search is under way for a young black actor to play the lead.
Da Brick stems from Tyson’s 2010 guest appearance on Ellin’s HBO comedy Entourage, a series inspired by executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s early years in Hollywood. “That’s when Mike asked me, why don’t we do with my life what we did with Mark’s life,” Ellin told me back in June, when Da Brick was still in development. “The initial idea was ‘Entourage meets The Wire,’ an edgy story about an up-and-coming boxer and his crew that is much more dramatic than Entourage.” While it was not a series Ellin felt he would write, he and his producing partner Jim Lefkowitz decided to develop and produce it through their company. Lefkowitz brought in Ridley who, in turn, brought in Lee, with whom he had been developing a movie about the L.A. riots. Ellin, Lefkowitz, Ridley, Lee and Tyson are executive producing Da Brick, with Tyson’s wife Lakiha Tyson and Azim Spicer, CEO of Las Vegas’ SpiceReel Prods, co-executive producing.
Comedy Central today announced the first group of roasters for its Roast of Charlie Sheen. It includes TMZ boss Harvey Levin, Jackass star Steve-O, former boxer Mike Tyson as well as comedians Anthony Jeselnik and Jeffrey Ross. Hosted by Seth MacFarlane, the roast will be taped Sept. 10 for a Sept. 19 premiere.
How is this for intriguing mix of creative auspices — filmmaker Spike Lee, former boxing champion Mike Tyson and Entourage creator Doug Ellin have come together to produce a drama series project for HBO, written by John Ridley and to be directed by Lee. The project, titled Da Brick, is described as a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America and is loosely inspired by aspects of Tyson’s youth. Is its set in current-day Newark, NJ, nicknamed “brick city.” While the project is still in development, HBO has hired a casting director to explore casting choices for the lead, looking for young black actors who are also credible in the boxing ring.
Tyson appeared in a 2010 episode of Ellin’s HBO comedy series Entourage, playing himself. The original germ of an idea for Da Brick came out of a meeting the two had on the set of the veteran comedy, which was inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s early years in Hollywood. “That’s when Mike asked me, why don’t do with my life what we did with Mark’s life,” Ellin said. “The initial idea was ‘Entourage meets The Wire‘, an edgy story about an up-and-coming boxer and his crew that is much more dramatic than Entourage.”
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:
Ricky Gervais is Now a Man of Science
Nobody has more fun than Ricky Gervais, as he proved Thursday afternoon during a TCA panel that originated live via satellite from overseas. Gervais was joined by his writer-producer partner Stephen Merchant and their best friend, Karl Pilkington, to promote their new Science Channel series An Idiot Abroad that centers on a satiric travelogue involving Pilkington’s “forced trip around the globe” visiting the Seven Wonders of the World at Gervais’ and Merchant’s behest.
The 20-minute session, conducted with the three men on big screen, outfitted with earpieces and fortified by glasses of beer positioned in front of them, was mostly an opportunity for Gervais to guffaw heartily, further humiliate Pilkington and attempt to explain how this piece of comedy could wind up on something called the Science Channel. The loose justification: it’s a social experiment to see how much humiliation one man can tolerate without losing his mind.
At least 25% of the session was taken up by Gervais’ laughing so deeply and heartily that he often couldn’t catch his breath — all of it at the hapless Pilkington’s expense. When Pilkington was asked if he ever got sick of being referred to as a moron, he replied with a tepid, “Yeah.” He added, “I don’t think of myself as a moron. I hope that people watching this show will see themselves in me. It’s a little bit like when you get a dog.”
Gervais referred to …