Saturday, January 26, 2013

"You Don’t Know Bo" by 30 for 30 Films — ESPN's Highest Rated Documentary


ESPN Films 30 for 30: You Don't Know Bo

Film Summary

A close look at two-sport athlete Bo Jackson and the creation of a legend. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo will forever be known as a cultural icon and one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film will examine the truths and tall tales that surround Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible feats captured our collective imagination for an all-too-brief moment in time.

Bo Jackson - 1995 Heisman Trophy Winner
Director's Take

I am not a sports fan. So when the idea of making a film about Bo Jackson -- someone who played not one, but two sports professionally -- first came about, I was very intrigued, but more than a little intimidated. 

I began reading about Bo, watching highlights of him in action, and speaking with a wide array of people about him.  And I noticed something I'd never experienced before.  At the mere mention of the name "Bo Jackson," people -- including Bo's contemporaries on the diamond and gridiron (some Hall of Famers) -- immediately lit up in excitement, wonder, and awe.  I soon came to understand that the story of Bo Jackson isn't really a sports story. It's a superhero story. A legend.

Bo's year-round omnipresence in the late 80's and early 90's -- not only on the playing field but as a cultural icon due to Nike's landmark "Bo Knows" ad campaign -- made him a star even to people like me who never followed sports. But when I talked to anyone under the age of thirty, even sports fans, I realized that unless you were alive during that time, you may never have heard of Bo Jackson. Bo never won a championship. He doesn't appear in many record books and he never won any major awards in the pros. Instead, he captured people's imaginations. 

Bo Jackson's dislocates hip — ending his football career 

The writer Jeremy Schaap told me that Bo Jackson was, "like something out of Homer." His story is an epic, classic hero's journey that would seem cliché if it weren't (mostly) true.  And because we only had him at his full power for a fleeting moment, the legend of Bo Jackson forces us to continue dreaming, perpetually wondering about what else he might have done that would cause us to marvel.

Bo Jackson "infamously" breaks bat over his knee

R.I.P. Baseball bat R.I.P.
You Don’t Know Bo, the latest film in ESPN Films’ Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series, earned a 2.3 metered market rating to become ESPN’s highest rated documentary on an overnight basis, according to the Nielsen Company. 

The film, which aired Saturday night after the Heisman Trophy presentation, topped The Fab Five, an ESPN Films documentary that premiered to a 2.0 overnight rating on March 13, 2011, about the famed University of Michigan basketball team of the early 1990s.

“Bo Jackson’s story is one that captured the nation’s attention back in his prime and still fascinates people today—nearly two decades after his retirement,” said Connor Schell ESPN Films vice president and executive producer. “With You Don’t Know Bo, we wanted to present a documentary that would honor Bo’s legacy while appealing to those who lived through his great feats. But it was equally as important to encapsulate his great achievements for those who may not have ‘known’ Bo, and we are thrilled with the audience response to the film.”

You Don’t Know Bo rated highest in Birmingham, Ala., with a 7.9 metered market rating.

Bo Jackson' Nike Ad

Directed by Michael Bonfiglio and produced by, You Don’t Know Bo takes a close look at two-sport athlete Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson and the creation of a legend. As the only athlete ever selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl and the MLB All-Star Game, Jackson will forever be known as a cultural icon who looms larger than life as one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film examines the truths and tall tales that surround Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible deeds captured the country’s collective imagination for an all-too-brief period in time.

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