The four films, including one co-directed by country music superstar Kenny Chesney, will premiere beginning August 14
ESPN today announced a slate of four SEC Storied documentaries that will help kick off the new SEC Network, a 24/7 sports network launching August 14 and operated by ESPN. The films, which were revealed at SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala., will cover the iconic trio of Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas at Auburn University in the 1980s, South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier and his long history with the conference, the tragic story of Ole Miss defensive back Chucky Mullins and Vanderbilt running back Brad Gaines, and the devotion of 14 famous SEC fans, each of whom remains passionate about sports at their respective schools.
The SEC Storied franchise, from the creators of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series, focuses on the people, teams, moments and events that tell the ongoing story of the Southeastern Conference.
The documentaries will air on the SEC Network as follows (all ET):
Thursday, Aug. 14 at 9 p.m. – “The Stars Are Aligned” (Directed by Andy Billman)
Thursday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. – “Bo, Barkley and the Big Hurt” (Directed by Larry Weitzman)
Wednesday Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. – “The Believer” (Co-directed by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva)
Thursday Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. – “It’s Time” (Directed by Fritz Mitchell)
*Digital screeners for all films available upon request*
“The Stars Are Aligned” (VIDEO)
What do Ashley Judd, Darius Rucker, James Carville and Governor Rick Perry have in common? Well, they live and die with the fortunes of their respective SEC schools. In “The Stars Are Aligned,” 14 famous figures—each representing a different college in the Southeastern Conference—spill their emotions and explain why they’ll never forget where they came from. Among the other celebrities featured are Charlie Daniels, Amy Robach, Jonathan Papelbon, Melissa Joan Hart, Emmitt Smith, Shepard Smith and Ralphie May.
“Bo, Barkley and The Big Hurt” (VIDEO)
It started with the unheralded arrival of a wisecracking heavyweight basketball player named Charles Barkley. Then came the recruitment of multi-sports legend Bo Jackson, a victory in itself since he might have gone to Alabama. When Frank Thomas wasn’t drafted by a major league baseball team, he decided to cast his fate with Auburn… as a football player. Told through an unforgettable reunion of the famed trio at the 2013 Iron Bowl, here’s the real story of how these future Hall of Famers turned the orange and blue of Tiger athletics into gold.
“The Believer” (VIDEO)
The SEC is in Steve Spurrier’s blood. He grew up in Tennessee as a fan of the Volunteers. He won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback for the University of Florida, and then came back to coach the Gators to a national championship. Now he coaches the University of South Carolina, the team that produced the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney. Co-directed by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva, “The Believer” reveals the essence of the most competitive man in the most competitive football conference in the nation.
“It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins” (VIDEO)
On October 28, 1989, Ole Miss defensive back Chucky Mullins hit Vanderbilt running back Brad Gaines in the back and separated him from the ball. While Gaines was uninjured, Mullins suffered a broken neck on the play, leaving him a quadriplegic. But in that heartbreaking moment, a friendship was born that lasted another two years, until Mullins died of a blood clot in a Memphis hospital room, with Gaines at his side. “It’s Time” will chronicle the inspirational journeys of these two men brought together by tragedy.
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the SEC Storied series features films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past. In August, the franchise will expand to ten documentaries a year with the launch of the SEC Network.
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include in-depth commentary and analysis in studio shows, daily news and information original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, and more. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform. AT&T U-Verse, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber and National Rural Telecommunications cooperative (NRTC) have agreed to carry the SEC Network.