ESPN Shutters Its Content Development Division

Publish date:

ESPN will shut down its Content Development department after four years of creating original movies and specials, the network announced Thursday.

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-based Programming group headed by ESPN executive vice president of programming and acquisitions John Wildhack and Production group led by network executive senior vice president of studio and event production Norby Williamson will take over the 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," said ESPN spokesman Rob Tobias. "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' watch, 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 shows like E:60, SportsNation, Homecoming, Rise Up and Year Of The Quarterback.