After a lot of smoke that pointed towards Peacock winning the rights, a long-awaited (and still untitled) Magic Johnson docuseries will instead go to Apple TV+.
As recently as August it looked like Peacock was the favorite, with price tags floated in the $25 million mark for the rights to stream the project. Apple, though, has impossibly deep pockets, and today’s news confirms they’ll be emptying some of those pockets.
From Apple’s release:
Apple TV+ today announced a new documentary event series that will chronicle the life and career of two-time NBA Hall of Famer and cultural icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
A New Slate Ventures and XTR Production, the four-part docuseries will explore the remarkable accomplishments and global impact of Johnson’s life, both on and off the court. From his humble beginnings in Lansing, Michigan to becoming a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, he changed the conversation around HIV and transcended into a community activist and successful entrepreneur. Featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with Magic, powerhouses from business and politics, and those in his inner circle, the series will offer an unprecedented look at one of sport’s all-time greats.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa (“Dope”) with editor Dirk Westervelt (“Ford v. Ferrari”) and cinematographer Rachel Morrison (“Black Panther”), the docuseries is produced for Apple by XTR and New Slate Ventures, and produced in association with H.Wood Media and Delirio Films.
The popularity of The Last Dance and the need for various streaming platforms to feed the ever-churning content library maw meant this sort of look back at Magic’s life and career was probably inevitable. But the names on board with this project, and the fact that Apple TV+ has proven a comfortable home for sports (or at least sports-adjacent) content, makes it something to watch for.
There’s no release date yet. Deadline first reported the news.