Fox Options The ESPN Oral History Those Guys Have All The Fun

By Katey Rich 2011-07-26 08:45:42discussion comments
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I've never cared much about ESPN unless it happens to be showing a game from my college football team or something truly bizarre at 3 a.m., but even I've been tempted to pick up a copy of ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun, an oral history of the sports network by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. Similar to the way they dug into the dirty, fascinating history of SNL in Live from New York, they interviewed the dozens of people involved in the launch of the network, from its days showing "Australian rules football and rodeo" to living up to its name as the "Worldwide Leader in Sports."

A story that fascinating isn't going to last in mere book form for very long, and now just weeks after Those Guys Have All The Fun hit shelves, Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights. They've also made a canny callback to another successful movie based on a book about modern history-- MIchael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will be producing, following up on their little hit called The Social Network. There are plenty of Zuckerberg-esque conflicted heroes to be presented in the ESPN story, from the network's former superstar Keith Olbermann to sports figures like former Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who is described as "stinking drunk" in one segment of the book. All the feuds in The Social Network took place in lawyer's offices or dimly lit college dorms, but the ESPN saga might have the advantage of an even jazzier setting: television.

There's no writer or director yet attached, but I won't be the first or last unimaginative person to suggest Aaron Sorkin ought to take a swipe at it. It's juicy material that would be hard to screw up, but given Sorkin's background not just with The Social Network but his TV comedy Sports Night, he's alms eerily well-suited to the subject.
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