ESPN Films announced today that it has added Fernando Nation to the fall schedule (Tuesday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) of its critically acclaimed film series 30 for 30 Presented by Cadillac. Directed by Cruz Angeles, the film focuses on the cultural impact of Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. Through his successful run with the Dodgers, Fernando served as a prime example of the American dream and helped bring together a torn community in Los Angeles.
Additionally, The Best That Never Was – about the rise, fall and comeback of running back Marcus Dupree – will move to Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m., and Pony Excess – about how the SMU football program got the NCAA’s “Death Penalty” in 1987 – will now be the closing film of the series on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 9 p.m. following the 2010 Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN. Both films are two hours long.
The updated list of the remaining schedule is as follows:
- Oct. 5, 8 p.m. ET – Four Days in October (Major League Baseball Productions)
- Oct. 12, 8 pm. ET – Once Brothers (NBA Entertainment)
- Oct. 19, 8 p.m. ET – Tim Richmond: To the Limit (NASCAR Media Group; Rory Karpf )
- * Oct. 24, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes (Oct. 26, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) – Fernando Nation (Cruz Angeles)
- Nov. 2, 8 p.m. ET – Marion Jones: Press Pause (John Singleton)
- Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ET – The Best That Never Was (Jonathan Hock)
- Dec. 11, 9 p.m. ET – Pony Excess (Thaddeus D. Matula)
*Replaces Alex Gibney’s Catching Hell, which will be aired in 2011.
Film Summary for Fernando Nation (Directed by Cruz Angeles)
“’The Natural’ is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from California.” – Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated, 1981. So how was it that a pudgy 20-year-old, Mexican, left-handed pitcher from a remote village in the Sonoran desert, unable to speak a word of English, could sell out stadiums across America and become a rock star overnight? In Fernando Nation, Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised director Cruz Angeles traces the history of a community that was torn apart when Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine and then revitalized by one of the most captivating pitching phenoms baseball has ever seen. Nicknamed “El Toro” by his fans, Fernando Valenzuela ignited a fire that spread from LA to New York—and beyond. He vaulted himself onto the prime time stage and proved with his signature look to the heavens and killer screwball that the American dream was not reserved for those born on U.S. soil. In this layered look at the myth and the man, Cruz Angeles recalls the euphoria around Fernando’s arrival and probes a phenomenon that transcended baseball for many Mexican-Americans. Fernando Valenzuela himself opens up to share his perspective on this very special time. Three decades later, “Fernandomania” lives.
Ratings So Far
To date, the series has earned an average 0.9 household rating. The December 12, 2009 airing of Billy Corben’s The U posted a 1.8 rating making it ESPN’s highest-rated documentary of all time followed by Dan Klores’ Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks, which aired in March 2010 and posted a 1.5 rating. Rounding out the top three highest-rated films in the series is Reggie Bythewood’s September 2010 One Night in Vegas, which posted a 1.3 rating. (Source: Nielsen)
“30 for 30” is an unprecedented documentary series featuring 30 films from some of today’s finest storytellers. Each filmmaker brings their passion and personal point of view to their film detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009. Crossing the barriers of sports, the films reflect on the impact these events had across the pop culture spectrum.
Select films from the series are available for purchase on iTunes the day following air. Additional films are available for purchase at www.amazon.com/30for30.
Media Contact: Keri Potts, ESPN PR, 212/448-4841 or [email protected]
Alison Lazar, ESPN PR, 212/448-4804, [email protected]