We’ve seen numerous docuseries on college football programs over the years, from Netflix’s Last Chance U through Showtime’s A Season With to HBO’s 24/7 series on four programs to various efforts from ESPN and conference networks. The latest one comes from Amazon’s Prime Video service, and is a co-production from Prime Video Sports in conjunction with Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz-Morini’s SMAC Entertainment. It will be a four-part docuseries called Coach Prime, focusing on Deion Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers.
The series will premiere in December on Prime Video. This is somewhat of a continuation of the series of the same name from Barstool Sports’ YouTube channel, which has put out 12 installments over two seasons (the most recent being six episodes released in March); that series was from SMAC Entertainment and Barstool (where Sanders has been involved in several projects both before and after taking the Jackson State job). Now, SMAC is continuing the series with Prime Video. Here’s the first-look clip they put out Tuesday:
And here are some quotes from a release:
“We’re excited to welcome Coach Prime to the Prime Video family,” said Marie Donoghue, VP, global sports video, Amazon. “Deion Sanders is such an inspiring leader, both on and off the field, and we look forward to taking fans inside Coach Prime’s world as the exciting season unfolds at Jackson State University.”
“When Coach Prime began his job at Jackson State, the biggest challenge and the brightest opportunity facing us was to collectively shine a light on HBCUs and break down barriers faced by these culturally important, yet overlooked and underfunded, institutions. We have worked tirelessly over the past few years—building coalitions, forging partnerships, and developing this documentary series—to encourage and create change,” said Constance Schwartz-Morini, co-founder and CEO of SMAC Entertainment and executive producer of Coach Prime. “We are thrilled to partner with Prime Video to expand the series’ audience and give viewers a sense of the culture unique to HBCUs and a behind-the-scenes look at Coach Prime, and his efforts to level the playing field.”
Michael Gleaton of DG West, Inc. serves as executive producer and showrunner, while Strahan, Schwartz-Morini, and FredAnthony Smith are also executive producers on the project. Per the release, the series will “follow the JSU Tigers at practice and games, in the locker room, off the field, and in the community, amid the team’s quest for an HBCU National Championship during a season unlike any other,” and will address on-field action, wider community context including the Jackson water crisis, and “Sanders’ broader mission to level the playing field in college sports by raising awareness for HBCUs.”
It’s certainly notable to see this series now moving to Prime Video (where there’s even some name synergy) for four further episodes. 16 episodes of a behind-the-scenes series would be a lot for any program (although it’s not the most episodes we’ve seen), and it’s perhaps particularly unusual to see that kind of coverage on a FCS program. But Jackson State under Sanders has gotten a lot more attention than any other FCS program in recent years, and they continue to make headlines on and off the field. It will be interesting to see how these four episodes turn out, and if there are any notable changes from this going from Barstool to Amazon.