Bloomberg News

Winfrey Network Plans Documentary on Gay NFL Draftee Michael Sam

May 15, 2014

Oprah Winfrey’s TV network plans to produce a multipart documentary on the life of Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted by a National Football League team.

The series will feature a personal, up-close look at Sam, who was drafted this month by the St. Louis Rams, according to a statement yesterday from OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA:US) An air date wasn’t announced.

“We are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever,” Winfrey said in the statement.

Cameras will follow Sam as he tries to turn his high-profile selection by an NFL team into success on the field. On May 8, the All-American defensive end signed a sponsorship deal with Visa Inc., the world’s biggest bank-card network.

The untitled project will be produced with OWN by Pilgrim Studios, according to the statement. Pilgrim makes programs for pay-TV networks including Discovery, the History channel, Syfy, Lifetime, OWN, Animal Planet, WE TV and National Geographic Channel.

“Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,” Sam said in the statement. “I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Ben Livesey, Elizabeth Wollman


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