ESPN Slates ‘This Was the XFL’ Doc for Feb. 2

ESPN will premiere the “30 for 30” film This Was the XFL Feb. 2, the documentary directed by Charlie Ebersol, whose father was a key figure in the short life of the renegade football league. From ESPN Films, This Was the XFL “tells the story in fascinating, candid, and often rollicking fashion featuring fellow television legends and close friends Dick Ebersol and Vince McMahon,” says ESPN.

The league, a joint venture between NBCUniversal and WWE, launched in 2001 and imploded after one season.  

“I grew up on the sidelines watching my father and Vince enjoy incredible success with just about everything they touched, and then, along came the XFL,” said Charlie Ebersol. “I saw them take bold creative risks, face unparalleled success and failure with dignity, but most importantly they maintained and celebrated a friendship where most would have cut and run. I learned more about integrity and character in those 18 months than just about any other time in my life, so when ESPN Films asked if I wanted to tell the story of the XFL, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew that the real story was that of an unbreakable friendship.”

This Was the XFL will be screened at the DOC NYC film festival in Manhattan Nov. 11.

“We felt that the colorful personalities and storylines featured throughout the rise and fall of the XFL deserved a more detailed examination, and as Dick Ebersol’s son, Charlie provided a personal understanding of it all,” said John Dahl, VP and executive producer, ESPN Films. “The XFL was a gamble, and even though the league didn’t ultimately succeed, we think audiences will really enjoy this tale of risk and ambition.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.