Thirty Five Ventures, the vehicle Kevin Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman founded in 2016 to branch out into the entertainment field, already has several sports-themed shows to its credit, including ESPN+ documentary series The Boardroom and Swagger, a scripted series for Apple TV+ based on Durant’s experiences in youth basketball. Sarah Flynn, general manager of Thirty Five Ventures, spoke with Multichannel News about why Durant created the company and what its future plans for programming might be. Here’s an edited excerpt from that interview.
MCN: What is Kevin Durant looking to accomplish through his Thirty Five Ventures?
Sarah Flynn: Thirty Five Ventures is always looking to tell compelling stories primarily through the lens of sports. Sports is really a microcosm of the world itself, from culture to business to philanthropy, and through verticals like our sports business platform The Boardroom, we’ve really been able to explore that in new ways.
MCN: What does Kevin Durant bring to the table in terms of creating and developing original television content?
SF: Kevin has a natural curiosity and drive that fuels creative projects as much as it does his on-court world. He’s always learning, and wants to learn from the best in every industry. Partnering with Imagine Entertainment, Apple, ESPN and other networks has given us all the opportunity to do that while working on our original projects.
MCN: How involved is Kevin in the creative process of the shows Thirty Five Ventures is creating?
SF: Kevin is extremely involved in the process, and on many of our projects, it’s a unique opportunity for him to — for the most part — step out from in front of the camera and be more creative behind the scenes.
MCN: Will sports be the focus of Thirty Five Ventures’ original content or will the company look to create content within other genres?
SF: We live and breathe sports, so those stories are what we’re most immediately drawn to, but our interests are definitely not limited to sports, so there are certainly opportunities to create content across other verticals in the future.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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