Thursday, October 11, 2007

ESPN Does Another Series

Production has begun for a new six-part (four hours) reality series on ESPN, Varsity Inc. Presented by Old Spice, chronicling the 2007 season of the West Monroe (La.) High School Rebels - and the town’s obsession with the game - as they fight to stay atop the Louisiana football heap. The series represents the first comprehensive effort from the newly established ESPN Content Development (ECD) unit. Produced in conjunction with Jason Sciavicco (the creator of MTV’s Two-a-Days) and his company Horizon Entertainment, Varsity Inc., is tentatively scheduled to debut Thursday, Nov. 29 at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and generally will be aired Thursdays at 11 p.m. through December 27. Additional content support is planned for and with re-airs slated for ESPNU.

“Varsity Inc. hits at the core of what ECD endeavors will be going forward: it’s a compelling, impassioned story that goes beyond just sports, and offers high quality, multi-purpose content for a variety of our businesses,” said Keith Clinkscales, ESPN senior vice president, content development and enterprises.

Sciavicco, creator and executive producer for the series, added, “Football is an undeniable presence in our culture; Varsity Inc. depicts what it’s like to play the game at a consistently high level. This series will give viewers an in-depth look at the stress, the drama and the dedication these coaches and kids experience. It’s amazing to see how far they will push themselves to achieve success both on and off the field.”

West Monroe Rebels
Currently filming, the series will capture the frenzy and the fervor surrounding the West Monroe Rebels as well as the personal struggles and triumphs of the players and coaches themselves. The team is one of the most successful in Division 1-5A having won six state championships and two national crowns since 1993. Called “West Monroe Mania,” on Friday nights in the fall, the stores close down early and everyone’s either tailgating or talking strategy as game time grows near. On average, some 13,757 fans fill the Rebels’ home stadium each game, several hundreds more than the town population of West Monroe.

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