ESPN ANNOUNCES START OF PRODUCTION ON PLAYMAKERS
FIRST-EVER SCRIPTED DRAMATIC SERIES TO PREMIERE AUGUST 26
ENSEMBLE CAST ANNOUNCED
ESPN announces the start of production of PLAYMAKERS, the network's first-ever scripted dramatic series, set to premiere Tuesday, August 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. PLAYMAKERS is a gritty ensemble drama chronicling the behind-the-scenes and off-the-field lives of the players, families, coaches and owner of a fictional professional football team. The series weaves multiple storylines into an intricately patterned saga that changes minute-to-minute as the characters struggle to negotiate the red zone between fame and real life.

Filmed on location in Toronto, this ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) project, will star Tony Denison ("The DA," "Crime Story") as head coach Mike George; Omar Gooding ("Baby Boy," "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper") as Demetrius Harris, a cocky and talented young running back; Russell Hornsby ("Gideon's Crossing," "Haunted") as Leon Taylor, a fiercely competitive aging veteran; Jason Matthew Smith ("Hollywood Homicide," "13 Going On 30") as Eric Olczyk, an unassuming, blue collar rising star linebacker and Taylor's trusted friend; Marcello Thedford ("Crimson Tide," "ER") as Kelvin 'Buffalo' James, the barrel-chested offensive tackle who worships D.H.; and Chris Wiehl ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Hollywood Homicide") as Derek McConnell, an all-pro QB suffering his first sub-par season.

John Eisendrath ("Alias," "Felicity," "Beverly Hills: 90210") and Orly Adelson ("The Junction Boys," "The Truth About Jane") have teamed up to executive produce this one-hour dramatic series for ESPN. Michael Angeli ("Now & Again," "Twilight Zone") serves as co-executive producer and Scott Brazil ("The Shield," "CSI: Miami") will direct the first episode.

Following the August 26 premiere, 10 additional episodes will air on subsequent Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. with a re-air directly following at 10:00 p.m.

EOE is developing a wide-variety of branded programming to add to the network's comprehensive event and sports news coverage. Using a collection of vehicles - original movies, reality-based shows, dramatic series, documentaries, game shows and more - ESPN's goal is to broaden its audience by more strongly appealing to younger and casual sports fans.