Clint Eastwood's Next Project: New Golf Network (Exclusive)

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Art Streiber

The filmmaker and avid golfer has been named creative board chairman and founding shareholder of Back9Network, an upcoming golf lifestyle network

Chrysler isn't the only company benefiting from a Clint Eastwood endorsement. The Hollywood icon is adding to his resume the title of creative board chairman and founding shareholder of the forthcoming golf lifestyle TV network, Back9Network.

It's a fitting addition, given the J. Edgar director’s life-long love for the sport. Eastwood not only plays frequently but also owns the Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, Calif., and is an investor in famed Pebble Beach.

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In his new role, Eastwood, 81, will meet with the Back9 brass once per quarter to go over programming and casting choices for the network, which is currently in talks with distributors and is slated to launch later this spring. Back9 executives declined to comment on the nature of those conversations.

“He’ll be a big picture sounding board,” said Back9’s chief executive James Bosworth, who was an assistant pro at Pebble Beach in the mid-1990’s when he first met Eastwood. The pair remained in touch, and continue to play golf together.

“It was natural to seek his advice,” Bosworth added, noting that Eastwood, along with his wife Dina, has been consulted and supportive of the Back9 concept since its inception some two years earlier. “There’s no better guy to go to for a golf media company.” 

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In preparation, Eastwood--who made headlines this week for narrating and appearing in a buzzworthy commercial for Chrysler that aired during the Super Bowl--has already looked over the network’s pilots, weighed in on storyboards and casting choices and sat down for an interview for one of the net’s forthcoming shows, You’re So Money, hosted by LPGA star and runway model Anna Rawson.

In addition to Rawson’s interview magazine series, the network is planning to roll out a daily studio show titled The Scorecard as well as nine other pilots. Among them: Extreme Golf, which features celebrities and athletes going head-to-head on the wildest golf holes imaginable (think tops of building); Lucky Me with Jackie Flynn, starring the blue-collar comedian as he travels to the ritziest of courses; and Hole Lotta Love, a Bachelor-style dating series in which pairs play with three dates and eliminate one at each hole. 

Golf fans gathered for the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando last month were given a sneak peek of the network's fare. “For a very, very long time, golf has been about a bunch of stuffed shirts trying to keep people out,” Bosworth told the crowd. “The Back9 network is about inclusion… and we're going to bring a hell of a lot of fun to the game of golf.”

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