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It's Official: TNT Orders Cocaine Trade Drama Pilot

via Deadline Hollywood:

TNT has officially given a pilot order to Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay’s long-gestating cocaine drama project. 

Written by Masters Of Sex creator/executive producer Michelle Ashford, the untitled serialized character drama is set in the wild and unpredictable world of the Florida drug trade in the 1970s. Bruckheimer and Bay, who have worked together on such feature blockbusters as Bad Boys, Armageddon and The Rock,  first teamed to develop a drama series inspired by Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys, about the rise of the cocaine trade and the resulting crime epidemic that swept Miami in the 1970s and 1980s, back in 2008 when the project was set at HBO with Meredith Stiehm as a writer. Three years later, the drama went through another incarnation at HBO with a new script by Ashford. She got the assignment five months before Showtime picked up her Masters of Sex, also a long-gestating project, to pilot. Given how busy Ashford is with Masters of Sex, which was just renewed for a third season, it is likely that the Cocaine project would bring in a day-to-day showrunner at the pilot or series stage.

TNT’s Cocaine project is not expected to feature characters from the documentary but would borrow from its portrayal of the events of the illegal drug trade in Miami during that time frame.

The Cocaine project falls into TNT’s strategy to move towards edgier, premium drama fare. The pilot hails from Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Bay Films and Warner Horizon Television. Bruckheimer and Bay executive produce with Jonathan Littman, as well as Corben and Alfred Spellman, partners in rakontur, which produced the documentary.

ESPN will release a sequel to 'The U' this coming December

via Sports Illustrated:

Executives at ESPN Films will tell you that more people ask about “The U” than any other 30 for 30 documentary they’ve ever done. The film, which debuted on Dec. 12, 2009, chronicled the fusion between the growing hip-hop culture in Miami and the swaggering University of Miami football program that won four national titles between 1983 and 1991. At the time it was the most-watched ESPN documentary ever, with 2.368 million viewers tuning in.

The initial pitch from the filmmakers for The U — it was originally titled “Hurricane Season” — included a segment on the 12-0 national championship team in 2001, which many observers consider one of the best college teams in history. But it soon became obvious to everyone that the 1980s Miami teams were a documentary onto itself. So following the success of the original doc, “The U” director Billy Corben began pitching ESPN Films executives Connor Schell and John Dahl to do a sequel. One of the selling points was the 2001 team, which featured more than a dozen first round NFL draft picks. Last year ESPN Films greenlit a sequel, a first for the 30 for 30 series.

“We are hitting the fifth anniversary of the launch of 30 for 30 and of all the films we have done, The U consistently comes up as a favorite,” Dahl said. “That tells us something. The other thing is when we were working on the original and I went down to Miami in the summer of 2009, the challenge was how to bottle such a big story. It seemed like there was a good stopping point in the mid-90s when the program started to fall after [coach] Dennis Erickson left. This is not a repeat of the film five years ago. This is a pickup of where that film left off because there is so much more to cover.”

The U Part 2 premieres December 13th on ESPN

ESPN Films today revealed the films that will make up its fall 2014 30 for 30 slate. The series will return for a six-week run Tuesday nights on ESPN beginning October 7, with one additional film in December. This October marks the fifth anniversary of 30 for 30’s launch in 2009.

“The U Part 2″ will debut after the Heisman Trophy presentation in December, making it the first 30 for 30 sequel. “The U,” a chronicle of the rise of the University of Miami football program in the 1980s, was one of the first 30 for 30 films, and subsequently became ESPN’s most-watched documentary film in history up to that point. In “The U Part 2,” director Billy Corben picks up where his original film left off, with Miami trying to recover from the devastation left by NCAA sanctions and scandals.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 p.m. – “The U Part 2”

Details on ESPN's new documentary about UM football

via Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

No, director Billy Corben assures, the much-anticipated ESPN sequel to the “U” documentary will not evolve into The Nevin Shapiro Show.

“This is not what the movie is about,” Corben said, as he and producer Alfred Spellman craft another two-hour film about the University of Miami football program, set to air sometime this winter.

“Make no mistake, [the Shapiro saga] will be in there, but the focus is on the 2001 team.”

Even so, UM declined to participate, just as it did for the first film, which debuted in 2009 and drew the most viewers (2.3 million) ever for an ESPN documentary to that point.

This time around, UM denied their request to speak with president Donna Shalala, coach Al Golden, offensive line coach Art Kehoe and strength and conditioning coach Andrew Swasey.

“This is not a surprise to me but perhaps not the wisest strategy,” Corben said. “I’m never shocked but always disappointed by UM. They’re perpetually in damage control mode. Nobody wants to see the documentary the administration wants you to see. People want to see the unauthorized story.”

Ex-Medellin Cartel boss Fabio Ochoa gets another appeal

One of South Florida’s most notorious drug lords is getting another chance to appeal his 2003 conviction on cocaine trafficking and other charges.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed that former Medellin cartel boss Fabio Ochoa deserves a new hearing on whether his lawyer had an improper conflict of interest. Once one of the Colombian cartel’s senior leaders, Ochoa is now serving a 30-year prison sentence.

11 Netflix Documentaries That Will Change the Way You Think About Drugs

#10: Cocaine CowboysThanks to an overabundance of dead-body closeups, this documentary might make you think you’re back in high school health class. But these shots aren’t so much a scare tactic as a dramatic ploy in what is at times an overdramatic take on the cocaine-trafficking boom in 1970s and ’80s Miami. Cocaine Cowboys does manage to introduce an impressive cast of characters on all sides of the issue — smugglers, cops, reporters, importers, coroners and snitches. And it gives an interesting account of the city’s transformation from drowsy retirement destination to teeming cosmopolitan center, a transformation that would have never happened without the economics of the drug trade.

Sports Illustrated: The 13 Best Sports Documentaries on Netflix

via Sports Illustrated:

#10 THE U (30 FOR 30)
Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, 2009

The 1980s in Miami were a time of racial unrest and changing demographics. Rather than resist the change, University of Miami football coach Howard Schnellenberger steered into the skid, recruiting a team of almost all black athletes from some of the poorest ghettos in Florida. After years of being a pretty-good-but-not-great team, this change in personnel made Miami something to care about again. The team ended up winning four national titles between 1983 and 1991, and Billy Corben’s film suggests that this was due largely to the recruitment of these new athletes and the adoption of Miami’s hip-hop culture. It’s a must-watch for anyone who cares about music and sports. And if you’re already a fan, there’s good news: Corben is making a sequel set to come out this winter.

Just another day in Miami

The Miami Herald’s David Ovalle was busy today:

Miami-Dade cop arrested, accused of working with marijuana grow-house operation:

A Miami-Dade County narcotics detective passed along sensitive police intelligence to a violent gang of marijuana smugglers, allowing them to avoid arrest and even to target their rivals, federal authorities said Thursday.

The detective, Roderick Silva, was arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges that he worked for the lucrative grow-house operation.

But allegations of the extent of his work for drug dealers turned into another embarrassing blow to the county’s largest police department.

In April, a Miami-Dade Police Department internal affairs lieutenant, Ralph Mata, was arrested by the feds, accused of acting as a henchman for cocaine smugglers in an unrelated case. He is awaiting trial in New Jersey.

Fired Miami Beach cop gets job back after blaming cocaine test on sex-aid cream

After Miami Beach police Detective Reinaldo Casas tested positive for cocaine, he insisted that the drug had been unwittingly absorbed into his blood through an erection-enhancing cream he applied to his genitals.

His defense worked.

An arbitrator this week ordered Casas, who was fired last year because of the positive drug test, be reinstated with complete back pay.

USA TODAY: Miami is the most underrated team in college football

via USA Today:

Since Al Golden’s arrival, the Hurricanes have admirably overcome tough NCAA sanctions that hit the program in 2011. In 2013, for example, the program claimed nine wins for the first time since 2009. But there were struggles. The Hurricanes’ only big victory was over rival Florida, and they had losses to Florida State, Duke, Virginia Tech and lost their bowl game to Louisville. But the team’s 9-4 record is among the things showing Golden is moving in the right direction.

Another thing is the talent. Miami boasts one of the best college football players in the country in running back Duke Johnson. Last year he rushed for 920 yards in eight games before suffering a year-ending ankle injury. If he stays healthy, Johnson, who will be the team’s offensive leader, is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. He will be exceptionally key after the departure of three-year starting quarterback Stephen Morris.

Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded coming to Showtime in September

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