Boxing often makes an excellent background for quality sports movies and TV. It translates well for dramatization, is easier to film and rather simple to understand for viewers who might not necessarily be boxing or sports fans. NBC is hoping all of that applies to a new series being developed with Vin Diesel as producer.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Diesel is partnering with writer/producer Virgil Williams for a hour-long boxing drama titled Crushers Club. The series will largely center on a struggling boxing gym in a rough Chicago neighborhood that has become a second home for many kids in the community. A single mother from the suburbs becomes an unlikely supporter of the gym due to events in her life.
The THR article gives no indication as to how big a role boxing will play in the series or if it will largely serve as the background setting. Of course, boxing itself could provide plenty of drama and could drive several storylines. Maybe some former and current professional boxers could also make appearances on the show to add some credibility to the entire enterprise.
Williams has an impressive résumé in television, having worked as a writer and producer for several dramas including ER, 24, The Chicago Code and Criminal Minds. Additionally, he wrote the script for the Netflix film Mudbound (set to premiere Nov. 17), a period drama set after World War II that follows two veterans who return to their rural Mississippi town to deal with racism and PTSD. The streaming outlet has high hopes for the film, eyeing it as a potential awards contender. Williams is also developing a cop drama for Fox titled Hard Knocks.
Though Diesel attaches a recognizable name to Crushers Club, he’s on the project as a producer and there’s no indication that he might appear in the series, even in a cameo role. But showing up in the pilot could provide the series a boost with potential viewers and give NBC a marquee name associated with the phenomenally successful Fast and Furious movie franchise to sell the show.
Diesel and his production company One Race Productions has been branching out into television recently. Crushers Club would be its first entirely original series. The other projects in development from the company are reboots of Miami Vice for NBC and 1970s cop drama Get Christie Love at ABC.