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Netflix to Premiere ESPN’s ‘Last Dance’ for U.S. Subscribers in July – Variety



Netflix is bringing “The Final Dance” documentary collection about Michael Jordan and the ’90s Chicago Bulls crew to the U.S. this summer time.

ESPN’s “Final Dance,” co-produced with Netflix, debuted this previous Sunday (April 19) on ESPN networks and on Netflix exterior the U.S. The 10-episode collection will run for 5 weeks on ESPN and Netflix internationally, by way of Might 17, earlier than it hits Netflix’s American service.

“The Final Dance” will launch on Netflix within the U.S. on July 19, the corporate introduced as a part of its first-quarter 2020 earnings announcement. The streamer netted almost 16 million subscribers in Q1, attributed to COVID-19 quarantines, greater than double its earlier estimate.

For ESPN — affected by an absence of dwell sports activities — the primary two episodes of “Final Dance” have been a scores smash, delivering a mean of 6.1 million viewers and making it the cabler’s most-viewed documentary thus far. On Netflix’s Q1 earnings interview Tuesday, chief content material officer Ted Sarandos mentioned the corporate “equally noticed huge viewing world wide on the primary two episodes of ‘The Final Dance,’” however he didn’t provide particular metrics.

“It’s been a win-win for us and ESPN and an excellent win for basketball followers, who’ve been very hungry for brand new programming,” Sarandos mentioned. He mentioned that due to “the complexity of the rights and the footage” it could have been very troublesome for both ESPN or Netflix to provide “The Final Dance” independently.

“Final Dance,” directed by Jason Hehir (“The Fab 5,” “The ’85 Bears,” “Andre the Big”), options beforehand unreleased footage from the Bulls’ 1997-98 season. Individually, to advertise ESPN’s U.S. linear broadcast, the programmer’s ESPN Plus subscription-streaming service is working a companion collection, “Element: 1998 Chicago Bulls,” that includes Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and head coach Phil Jackson breaking down key video games and moments from that season.

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