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Jay Z's 'Made in America' Documentary Acquired by Showtime

The doc, which is directed by Ron Howard, will make its TV debut Oct. 11, a month after it bows at the Toronto Film Festival.

Jay-Z
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Jay Z

Showtime is in the Jay Z business.

In keeping with its bid for cultural relevancy, the premium cable network has acquired Made in America, the star-studded documentary that chronicled Jay Z’s two-day 2012 Philadelphia music festival of the same name. The doc, which is directed by Ron Howard and executive produced by the music mogul, Howard and his Imagine Entertainment producing partner Brian Grazer, will have its television debut Friday, Oct. 11, roughly a month after the film premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 7.

“As soon as we saw this film we knew it was a perfect fit for Showtime,” Showtime’s entertainment president David Nevins said in a statement announcing the news Friday. “Ron Howard and Jay Z have crafted an inspirational portrayal of American resilience, drive and creativity, interwoven with an incredible showcase of musical talent. We are proud to bring Made in America to Showtime where it joins our impressive roster of provocative and compelling documentaries helmed by award-winning filmmakers.”

The film, which is produced by RadicalMedia and Participant Media, features performances and interviews related to “making it in America,” as its title suggests, with a diverse roster of musicians, including Passion Pit, Pearl Jam, Run D.M.C., Skrillex and Kanye West, among several others. 

The move marks a continued push into the documentary space by Nevins, who talks often about the value of cultural touchstones within his programming. In addition to Made in America, he previously scooped up provocative doc or doc series projects on subjects from Dick Cheney and Suge Knight to climate change and death. Prior to joining Showtime, Nevins served as the TV chief at Howard’s Imagine.

For Jay Z, the news comes the same week that the rapper made headlines for debuting his music video for “Holy Grail,” a collaboration with Justin Timberlake, on Facebook. In doing so, it became the first clip by a major music star to premiere on the social network -- and with a 24-hour window of exclusivity. This is just one of several innovative moves recently made by the musician, who also inked a $30 million partnership with Samsung and has pushed into the sports agency business. In fact, the hashtag that accompanied the initial Magna Carta … Holy Grail album announcement on Twitter read “#newrules.”

The deal to bring Made in America to Showtime was negotiated by CAA on behalf of the production.