A graphic for "American Sports Story: Aaron Hernandez." A graphic for “American Sports Story: Aaron Hernandez.” (FX.)

Back in 2021, FX ordered an American Sports Story sports analogy series from American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy, and announced that the first season would cover the saga of former Florida and New England Patriots tight end turned convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez. Last January, FX’s John Landgraf said the series “had fairly complete scripts” and was heading towards production, but last summer/fall’s SAG-AFTRA strike delayed it. Some casting news came out last fall and winter, though, and the series now has a premiere date and a full cast listing.

As per Deadline’s Denise Petski, the series will premiere on FX on Sept. 17. (It will also be available to stream next-day on Hulu.) Here’s more on it, and the cast listing, from that piece:

The 10-episode limited series is based on the podcast Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. from The Boston Globe and Wondery. It charts the rise and fall of NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez, played by Josh Rivera, and explores the disparate strands of his identity, his family, his career, his suicide and their legacy in sports and American culture.

The series also stars Jaylen Barron (Shayanna Jenkins), Lindsay Mendez (Tanya Singleton), Ean Castellanos (DJ Hernandez), Tammy Blanchard (Terri Hernandez), Tony Yazbeck (Urban Meyer), Patrick Schwarzenegger (Tim Tebow), Thomas Sadoski (Brian Murphy), Jake Cannavale (“Chris”) and Norbert Leo Butz (Bill Belichick).

That case includes some notable names. Rivera, playing Hernandez, has appeared in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and in the 2021 remake of West Side Story. Mendez, playing Hernandez’s cousin Tanya Singleton, won a Tony in 2018 for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in a Broadway revival of Carousel. Yazbeck and Butz, playing the two prominent coaches here, are both long-time Broadway veterans, with credits including On The Town and Finding Neverland (Yazbeck) and My Fair Lady (Butz). And Schwarzenegger (Arnold’s son), has appeared in quite a few movies, including Warning and Stowaway.

The 2018 podcast in question was hosted by Bob Hohler, a sports investigative and enterprise reporter for the Globe, and the paper ran a six-part companion series to it based on reporting by their famed investigative Spotlight team. AA’s Sean Keeley gave the podcast a positive review (based on the first two episodes) back then, writing “It delves into some extremely important issues that everyone involved with the sport of football, including fans, needs to assess, and does so through the story of a very troubled individual who seemed to experience everything good, bad, and ugly about it.”

It’s been a long while since the August 2021 announcement of this series, but some of these projects certainly take a while to make. And the strike last fall definitely didn’t help with the timing here. We’ll see how the finished product works out, and how it handles covering a tricky story like that of Hernandez.

[Deadline, image from FX]

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.