After earning ESPN Films its first Academy Award this year, one might figure that director Ezra Edelman could do just about whatever he wanted for the network. That would be the correct presumption. If Edelman has another O.J.: Made in America in him, ESPN wants first dibs on it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie, ESPN has signed Edelman to a first-look deal on sports-related nonfiction films. Made in America was a game-changer for ESPN Films and that arm of the company is expanding its ambitions accordingly, explains senior vice president and executive producer Connor Schell.

“I’m hesitant to say it out loud — that we want to do more like that,” Schell tells THR, “What Ezra accomplished with that project was so exceptional I don’t want to ever think, well yeah we’ll go do that again. That’s a really high bar. But those are the creative swings we want to take.”

As a result, Schell and Libby Geist, vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films and 30 for 30, aren’t no longer only taking pitches for the standard two-hour documentary format. They’re thinking bigger and want filmmakers to have similar ambition with their potential projects, taking deeper dives into stories. Will future 30 for 30 films be eight-hour epics like Made in America? It’s difficult to think of many figures and stories who would warrant that sort of scope, but Schell and Geist apparently want everyone thinking bigger.

What is next for Edelman? Neither he, Schell nor Geist would reveal them. But the three are having discussions about future projects, and Edelman’s first-look deal is a big part of that. The THR article did mention, however, that ESPN Films has nearly a dozen 30 for 30 films in development. The film division is also teaming up with ESPN’s audio arm to produce 30 for 30 podcasts, which was officially announced last week at SXSW.

Locking up Edelman is certainly a smart move for ESPN Films. Coming off that Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Edelman is a filmmaker in demand. With the sports documentary space continuing to expand, he surely would have been offered plenty of opportunities with other networks and outlets. (Edelman previously directed Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals for HBO and produced The Curious Case of Curt Flood for the premium network.)

Never mind that Edelman is also developing other non-documentary features such as an upcoming Richard Jewell biopic. Perhaps he has other documentary ideas outside of the sports realm as well. But if he does have another O.J.: Made in America sports documentary in mind, we won’t be seeing it on HBO, Showtime or Netflix for now.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.