ESPN debuts Bonds on Bonds, which “ignited fierce debate within ESPN”

Also tonight, ESPN2 debuts its new Barry Bonds reality series Bonds on Bonds at 8 p.m. The 10-episode series airs new episodes on ESPN2, and ESPN will air repeats.

ESPN says it “shows a more intimate side to this American game and currently its brightest star.” Yet as the AP reports, the series “will show a far different profile of Bonds” because during production, he became “embroiled in scandal.”

ESPN Entertainment’s Joan Lynch says that producers “aggressively made sure the news was part of the show. We really lucked out in our access to him at this time and his candor for him wanting to tell his story and wanting to have his say.”

Still, production “ignited fierce debate within ESPN over how to handle material revealed as news broke around Bonds with camera crews in tow,” the AP reports. Thus, an outside producer was hired, and “the entertainment division will keep all show material secret from the news department until the air date to avoid the appearance of paying for access to Bonds.”

The show’s director and producer, Mike Tollin, tells Reuters, “I’ve been given a … great deal of creative freedom and I feel very good about the opportunity to tell a story that’s fair and honest and objective.”

Bonds On Bonds [ESPN2]