Michael Sam follows Lindsay Lohan as the subject of an OWN documentary series

Recently drafted football player Michael Sam will be the subject of OWN’s next documentary series. Just like the network’s recently concluded series Lindsay, the show will be produced by Amy Rice and Pilgrim Studios, although in this case there probably won’t be lots of footage waiting for him to come out since he already is.

In a press release, the network called the untitled show “a new multi-part documentary series following the life of Michael Sam, who made history when he became the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL by the St. Louis Rams.” The show “spotlights the former University of Missouri football player and his historic journey as he prepares to enter the biggest professional sports league in America.”

Suggesting there may be hints of HBO’s Hard Knocks, the release also said that “[c]ameras will follow Sam as he works to earn his spot on the St. Louis Rams all while under the intense scrutiny of being the first openly gay player in the NFL.”

This is a smart move for OWN, and not (just) because it pivots significantly away from the trainwreck of their fascinating Lindsay Lohan series to capitalize on the popularity of someone who’s making history. It may not do anything about tweets from ignorant nitwits, nor hilarious morning show conversations, nor even do what Oprah hopes, which is “spark valuable, important discussion on life in America today.”

But it will hopefully use documentary television to actually document reality as it unfolds, and humanize him and his story, turning it from abstract to concrete.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.