ESPN’s ‘Last Dance’ Available as Limited-Edition Blu-ray Nov. 10

Disney Media Networks and ESPN Films will release the award-winning documentary series The Last Dance as a Blu-ray Disc gift set Nov. 10.

Winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction series, the 10-part The Last Dance chronicles Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ efforts to win a sixth NBA championship during the 1997-98 season. The series originally aired on ESPN and is also available on Netflix.

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The Blu-ray gift set includes a 28-page gallery book with photos and episode recaps, a timeline poster, and more than four hours of additional material.

Extras include:

  • Exclusive never-before-seen The Last Dance bonus interviews;
  • “Game 6: The Movie”
  • A never -before-seen uncut version of Stuart Scott’s interview with Michael Jordan on “Sunday Conversation” from June 1998;
  • “In-the-Moment” archival material;
  • “SportsCenter” with Scott Van Pelt roundtables;
  • “The Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow” with Jason Hehir.

 

IMDb: ‘The Last Dance,’ ‘Last Week Tonight’ Top Most-Popular TV Shows Thus Far in 2020

IMDb.com, the online industry tracker owned by Amazon, Sept. 1 announced the Top 10 television shows thus far in 2020, according to its user ratings through Aug. 23.

Among the TV shows airing or streaming from Jan. 1, these 10 shows had the highest IMDb user ratings. IMDb ratings are determined by users who rank movies and TV shows on a 10-point scale. Content sources include ESPN, HBO, Netflix, Discovery, Amazon Prime Video, among others.

  1. The Last Dance
  2. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  3. The Outsider
  4. How the Universe Works
  5. Dark
  6. Westworld
  7. Better Call Saul
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  9. Normal People
  10. Top Gear

Among the TV English-language shows airing or streaming their premiere season from Jan. 1, the following 10 new shows had the highest IMDb user ratings:

  1. The Last Dance
  2. The Outsider
  3. Normal People
  4. Gangs of London
  5. Dave
  6. The Midnight Gospel
  7. Star Trek: Picard
  8. Defending Jacob
  9. Unorthodox
  10. The New Pope

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IMDb recently launched a new What to Watch page, designed to make it easier for users to decide what to watch. From the Watch Guide, users can discover trending movies and TV shows from around the world, explore streaming picks, celebrity recommendations and watch the latest videos and trailers.

Daisey Edgar-Jones

Additionally, British actress Daisy Edgar-Jones received an IMDb “Breakout” STARmeter Award for her performance as Marianne in “Normal People,” which ranks as the No. 3 new show of the year so far and No. 9 overall based on IMDb user ratings. Edgar-Jones has been a strong performer this year on the IMDbPro STARmeter chart, which is determined by the page views of the more than 200 million monthly visitors to IMDb worldwide.

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IMDb STARmeter Awards have proven to be an accurate predictor of stars who are about to have a breakthrough career moment. Previous IMDb STARmeter Award recipients in the “Breakout” category, include Nicholas BraunOlivia CookeJacob ElordiPom KlementieffBrie LarsonDacre Montgomery, and Miles Teller.

 

 

ESPN Looking to Replicate ‘Last Dance’ Doc Success with ‘LANCE’ Armstrong

Without live sports to showcase, analyze and endlessly promote, ESPN has resorted to televising and streaming documentaries and classic games from the past. On the heels of its success (5.6 million viewers per episode) with the Michael Jordan-themed documentary ‘The Last Dance,” the Disney-owned sports network is hoping to come close with new “30 for 30” doc “LANCE,” as in disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

ESPN says the two-part series (May 24/31) showcases the story of the cyclist’s rise out of Texas as a young superstar cyclist; his harrowing battle with testicular cancer; his recovery and emergence as a global icon with his seven consecutive Tour de France titles; and then his massive fall after he was exposed in one of the largest doping scandals in history.

While all true, the series more importantly reveals just how angry Armstrong remains seven years after his spectacular fall from grace following admission of systemic use of performance enhancing drugs to Oprah Winfrey, the subsequent vacating of his record seven Tour titles by French officials, and loss of tens of millions of dollars in endorsement deals.

With filters removed per his and doc director Marina Zenovich’s request, Armstrong, 49, quips and disses on everyone from his mother’s parenting, stepfather’s discipline, antidoping officials who pursued him and disloyal former teammates — except himself.

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The Plano, Texas, native remains controversial largely due to his outsized ego and competitive drive to excel in a sport historically dominated by Europeans — and in the process sell lots of bikes, kits, books and yellow fighting-cancer Livestrong wrist bands to corporate America and weekend warriors who might otherwise have swung a golf club, tennis racket or gone jogging.

“Lance’s fans pay retail,” said one bike shop owner.

The Texan’s current podcasts — The MOVE (about bike racing) and The Forward Podcast — the latter showcasing eclectic subjects fielding questions from Armstrong — underscore his singular talent to engage people with charm and swagger.

A glimpse into Armstrong’s cunning is revealed early (age 16) when he bends the rules to enter his first triathlon: “Forge the certificate, compete illegally, and beat everybody,” he brags.

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Armstrong isn’t remorseful about cheating (“I wouldn’t change a thing,” he says), he’s angry he came out of retirement (for more glory) and got legally outmaneuvered by government investigators in the process. For years, Armstrong and his team of high-paid lawyers had threatened and harassed anyone who suggested his story wasn’t actually about beating testicular cancer and becoming an iconic champion through grit and hard work.

Ironically, a few years after the Winfrey mea culpa, Armstrong found himself being booed in an Austin, Texas, restaurant.

“Some people just can’t chill the fuck out,” he said. “They’re pissed still, and they’ll be pissed forever.”