Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish get a reality series

The University of Notre Dame’s football team the Fighting Irish will be followed for a documentary series all season long on Showtime. The straightforwardly named A Season With Notre Dame Football debuts Sept. 8, three days after their first game, and will have weekly half-hour episodes.

Showtime’s announcement said the series–which sounds like HBO’s excellent Hard Knocks except with a college football team–will follow the “student-athletes in the locker room and the classroom as the series transports viewers beyond the field and into the lives of the student-athletes throughout the season,” and offer “inside access to the team and coaching staff.”

The series It’s produced by Stone & Company’s Scott Stone and Crazy Legs Productions, among others.

More documentaries for Showtime

I’m absolutely excited about this as a series, though it all rests in the execution, of course. Mostly, it’s great to have premium television networks investing in narrative, multi-episodic documentary/unscripted/reality series.

Showtime’s president, David Nevins, told TV critics at TCA this morning Showtime’s that push into documentaries, both like this and standalone features, is due to the fact that the format “is much, much more engaging, as a rule, as it was 10 years ago.” He wasn’t willing to connect this to the rise of unscripted television through reality TV, though: “I’m not sure that it’s a function of the reality show.”

The network also announced other documentaries today:

  • American Dream/American Knightmare, “an uncensored look into the life of notorious rap mogul Marion ‘Suge’ Knight” that’s directed by Antoine Fuqua. It debuts Sept. 26 at 9.
  • I Am Giant: Victor Cruz,  which airs this fall and is about the New York Giants star’s “improbable rise to football stardom, demoralizing injury, and his dramatic attempt at a comeback.”
  • The Spymasters, a documentary about the CIA for which “all twelve living directors of the CIA, and the agency’s top operatives, have given remarkable, introspective interviews and unprecedented access.” It debuts Nov. 28 at 9.
  • Listen to Me Marlon, which “was created using Brando’s vast personal audio archive, allowing him to tell the story in his own words” and “is the definitive Marlon Brando cinema documentary.” It was directed by Stevan Riley; executive produced by Simon Chinn; and produced by John Battsek, RJ Cutler, and George Chignell.

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