"Amazing Sports Stories": Sports Emmy noms amaze producer Bruce Nash
Before Bruce Nash became a prolific producer of unscripted television, he was a prolific author of books, mostly about sports.
He wrote and co-wrote numerous titles, many of them compilations of stories that epitomize the nature of various sports and the personalities that make them tick. Every one of his books ("Baseball Hall of Shame," "Amazing But True Fishing Stories," "Amazing But True Dog Tales," etc.), even the light-hearted "Sports Hall of Shame" series, required a ton of research.
Fast-forward a decade or two, and Nash still used some of that old research -- and doing plenty more -- for a series that he produced as a labor of love for Fox Sports Net. "Amazing Sports Stories" was designed to put a spotlight on obscure and forgotten figures with inspirational stories.
People like Joe Jennette, a black boxer around the turn of the century who was a contemporary of Jack Johnson's in fighting for equality in the ring. People like Billy Miske (pictured right), a fighter who was diagnosed with a fatal condition but left his sick bed to make it one last bout because his family desperately needed the money. He KO'd his opponent in four rounds, and then dropped dead himself.
Each half-hour "Amazing Sports Stories" mixes archival materials with a little bit of reenactment, and whenever possible, contempo interviews with the person or their relatives or peers.
To Nash's amazement, when the Sports Emmy nominations were announced last week, "Amazing Sports Stories" was high on the list of shows with multiple noms (four to be exact). It's a first for Nash, whose TV milieu has largely been the high-octane clip shows ("Moments of Impact," "Most Daring...", "Most Shocking..." etc.) and elimination-style competitions ("Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "Meet My Folks").
"I don't get nominated for anything -- I just make shows," Nash said. "But if I was ever going to get nominated for anything, this one was the one."
"Amazing Sports Stories" has hit the finish line on FSN as far as original segs are concerned. Not that Nash is complaining -- he's happy to have "have an TV outlet for my lifelong pursuit of these stories.
The Sports Emmy noms, which included a mention in the category of "new approaches to sports programming," also helped ease the disappointment of not doing more episodes.
And in the spirit of never letting good research or good material go to waste, Nash is hoping that at least some of the 13 half-hours can serve as prototypes for movie projects. His Nash Entertainment banner has a few sports pics already percolating in development.
By CYNTHIA LITTLETON, "Variety" - "On The Air" Blog
Published: Tue., Apr. 7, 2009