Shohei Ohtani (C) with agent Nez Balelo (left) and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara at an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium in December 2023. Shohei Ohtani (C) with agent Nez Balelo (left) and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara at Dodger Stadium in December 2023. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports.)

Bizarre sports events often wind up receiving TV or movie treatments, and that sometimes happens quite quickly. Even by that standard, though, the speed of the turnaround for the first scripted TV series on the gambling scandal involving Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara stands out.

Lionsgate announced Thursday that they have a project on the Mizuhara betting scandal in development. The project has some notable figures attached as producers, including Scott Delman (known for TV production work with Max’s Station 11 and theater work on Broadway hits from The Book of Mormon to The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time) and Albert Chen (known for sports gambling book Billion Dollar Fantasy, work at Sports Illustrated and MLB Network, and the All American podcast). Here’s more from Lionsgate’s release:

The series will follow the story of the most exciting player in Major League Baseball, a star pitcher and hitter in the mold of Babe Ruth. Ohtani’s meteoric rise and carefully guarded persona collided with a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers – the biggest contract in American sports team history. Just months later and only a day into the 2024 MLB season in March, news broke that Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, allegedly stole almost $17 million from the baseball player to pay off gambling debts. The Dodgers fired Mizuhara following the allegations and he later turned himself in to federal authorities. The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California just announced that Mizuhara has agreed to plead guilty in the gambling scandal.

“With a strong track record of creating daring, boundary-pushing series, Lionsgate Television is the perfect partner to bring this unbelievable story to the screen,” said Delman. “In addition, Albert’s extensive sports journalism background will enable us to connect the dots to make sense of the startling turn of events we’ve seen play out on the world stage.”

“This is major league baseball’s biggest sports gambling scandal since Pete Rose – and at its center is its biggest star, one that MLB has hitched its wagon on,” says Chen. “We’ll get to the heart of the story – a story of trust, betrayal and the trappings of wealth and fame.”

Max Elins will oversee the project for Lionsgate Television. There aren’t any casting details available yet, or information on where or when the series will air. But it’s certainly notable to see this in development.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.