As we reported back in August, ESPN has officially joined the scripted web television game. Well-known ESPN personality, and thirteen-year network veteran, Kenny Mayne (SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, NFL Sunday Countdown) will star in Mayne Street which debuts on ESPN’s site tomorrow, a few weeks after its originally scheduled October launch.
Over the course of its fifteen episode run, the show will chronicle the semi-fictionalized life of Mayne – who more or less plays himself. Of the role, Mayne writes on his blog, “I felt guilty getting paid to do the work on the new show Mayne Street. Not guilty enough to give the money back. But guilty. They told me it was acting, but all I had to do was be me. I gained two pounds for this role. I’m hopeful the show has success but I’m also a bit worried that it might have too much success. If it has too much success they’ll move it to ABC, and replace me with someone who plays me better.”
In addition to the appearance of some big-name sports stars (Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics will be among them), Mayne is surrounded by a venerable cast of characters who have been in the comedy game for a long time. Jon Glaser (Baby Mama, Human Giant) plays Video Cowboy, Mayne’s camera guy, Alison Becker (Human Giant, Law and Order) plays Mayne’s producer, and Aubrey Plaza (30 Rock, Funny People) and Ben Schwartz (Robot Chicken) round out the cast playing off-the-wall ESPN execs.
The series is executive produced by Josh Shelov (writer of Hooligans) and Todd Pellegrino (veteran ESPN producer) through P3 Entertainment. The fifteen three- to five-minute episodes, shot largely in Bristol, Conneticut, and New York City, reportedly cost somewhere in the high six-figures to produce. ESPN brass is rosy on the show’s future. Ron Wechsler, Vice President of Series Content and Development said “We can think of no better way to get into the scripted web serial space than with the unique and hilarious voice of Kenny Mayne.”
The show is scripted but leaves room for plenty of improvisation – which suits Mayne perfectly. He states that his goal for the show is, “to be ten percent as good as Larry David.” That’s a tall order – but we have a feeling he, if anyone, can pull it off. If you’re a fan of Mayne’s dry, quick wit, the show looks pretty darn funny. Now, if they can come up with a theme song half-as-catchy as the one they’ve got for SportsCenter, they’ll have a big hit.