The TV takeover initiated by the blockbuster success of FX's American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson continues with O.J.: Made in America, ESPN Films' ambitious take on the life and career of Orenthal James Simpson. The production, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival in its entirety, will begin its episodic run on June 11 with the ABC premiere of O.J.: Made in America Part I before the rest of the documentary arrives on ESPN.
"We are incredibly proud of this epic work of documentary filmmaking," Marie Donoghue, ESPN's EVP of global strategy and content, said in a press release. "It's one of the most unique projects ESPN Films has ever done. We are especially excited to team with our ABC colleagues to premiere the first installment on ABC." ESPN is considering the documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ezra Edelman, as the start of a "new chapter" for the critically acclaimed 30 for 30 brand.
"To be honest, I initially was reluctant because I thought 'Haven't we all lived through this?'" Edelman told the Wrap in February. After giving the potential project some thought, Edelman reveals he ultimately realized the story of O.J. Simpson is actually "a story about everything." According to Edelman, ESPN deserves "a lot of credit" for letting him tell that story exactly how he wanted.
The episodic documentary, spanning five total nights of television, explores both Simpson's career and the subject matter behind American Crime Story within the context of the nation's racial tensions and ever-growing fixation with the idea of celebrity. Following Part I's premiere on ABC on June 11, ESPN will debut the rest of O.J.: Made in America with nightly entires starting June 14 at 9 p.m. and wrapping up with the finale on June 18. As previously reported, the real-life trial at the center of American Crime Story will also return to TV in April with Esquire's 12-hour marathon special The Real O.J. Simpson Trial.