ESPN Cans Content Development Unit

Publish date:

ESPN said it is shutting down its Content
Development department after four years of
creating original movies and specials.

Content Development head and ESPN Enterprises
senior vice president Keith Clinkscales will leave the
company to become an independent producer, while
another 20 to 25 jobs will be “repurposed” to other
growth areas of the company over the next 90 days,
according to network officials. Clinkscales is expected
to produce content for ESPN.

ESPN’s Bristol, Conn.-based programming group,
headed by ESPN executive vice president of programming
and acquisitions John Wildhack, and the production
group, led by network executive senior vice
president of studio and event production Norby Williamson,
will take over content-development activities,
which includes the development of original films
such as ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary film series surrounding
the network’s 30th anniversary.

“We evaluated the body of work we have produced
and the amount and location of resources needed to
meet our future needs,” ESPN spokesman Rob Tobias
said. “We felt very strongly that housing responsibility
for this in our existing resources in Bristol will
serve us best. We also felt that maintaining our focus
on films made sense.”

Under Clinkscales, Content Development was responsible
for creating numerous original films, including
the 30 for 30 projects as well as the current
run of weekly original films airing through October,
including Charismatic, The Real Rocky, Unguarded
and Roll Tide/War Eagle.

Content Development was also responsible for such
shows as E:60, SportsNation, Homecoming, Rise Up
and Year of the Quarterback.