TCA 2012: ESPN's '30 for 30' Documentary Series Sets Season 2 Premiere Dates

ESPN Logo - H 2012

ESPN Logo - H 2012

Beginning Oct. 2, the critically acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series will return for a second season.

Billy Corben’s Broke, which will focus on an increasingly common athletes’ path from wealthy to bankrupt, will kick off the first six installments launching on ESPN this fall. The remaining 24, which will extend beyond the 30-year period that the first season focused on, will roll out over the next two years. Like the first season, the second will range in both topic and tone, with docs focusing on such subjects as Ben Johnson, Ben Wilson and Bo Jackson.

In an effort to expand the franchise still more, ESPN Films will also launch 30 for 30 Shorts, which will air as four to 12-minute digital shorts on 30 for 30 creator Bill Simmons Among them: an untitled Arnold Schwarzenegger short, entitled Arnold's Blueprint, which focuses on the Governor's teen years as a budding body builder in the Austrian army. 

Here’s a look at the first six long-form docs featured in season 2:


Director: Billy Corben 

Air Date: Oct. 2, 8 p.m.

The documentary explores the road to fortune in sports and the eventual detours to bankruptcy, as experienced by top athletes including Bernie Kosar, Andrew Rison and Cliff Floyd, all of whom participated in the doc. “They were very frank about the mistakes that they made,” said Corben said of Broke, which serves as an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world. "Every week there’s a new story aout an athelete going broke," Corben added. "I was shocked at how easy it is to go broke."


Director: Daniel Gordon

Air Date: Oct. 9, 8 p.m. (to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival)

The 100-meter men's final at the 1988 Seoul Games was the fastest sprint in Olympic history. But within 48 hours, gold medalist Ben Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids and scandal trumped thrilling as the way to describe the race. More than two decades later, that race still haunts the eight men who took part and the doc will take a look at what brought the men to the starting line and what happened to them since.

There's No Place Like Home

Director: Maura Mandt andJosh Swade

Air Date: Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

On December 10, 2010, Sotheby’s auctioned off the most important historical document in sports history: James Naismith's original rules of basketball. There’s No Place Like Home is the story of one fan’s obsessive quest to win the artifact at auction and bring the rules "home" to Lawrence, Kansas, where Naismith coached and taught for more than 40 years.


Director: Coodie andChike

Air Date: Oct. 23, 8 p.m. (premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival)

In 1984, 17-year-old Ben Wilson was a symbol of everything promising about Chicago: a beloved, sweet-natured youngster from the city's fabled South Side, and America's most talented basketball prospect.  His senseless murder the day before his senior season sent ripples through Chicago and the nation.

Ghosts of Ole Miss

Director: Fritz Mitchell

Air Date: Oct. 30, 8 p.m.

In 1962, the University of Mississippi campus erupted in violence over integration and swelled with pride over an unbeaten football team. Mississippi native Wright Thompson explores the tumultuous events that continue to shape the state 50 years later. 

You Don’t Know Bo

Director: Michael Bonfiglio

Air Date: Dec. 8, 8 p.m.

Bo Jackson hit 500 ft. home runs, ran over linebackers, and—for a short period—he was the best athlete we had ever seen. You Don’t Know Bo takes a closer look at the man and marketing campaign that shaped his legacy. More than 20 years later, myths and legends still surround the famously press shy athlere, and his impossible feats still capture our collective imagination. "We probably have the most candid material that he’s ever done," said Bonfiglio, adding that he " found him to be a great storyteller and ... as magnanimous as I could have asked him to be."