EXCLUSIVE OWN ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY - "MICHAEL SAM" - PREMIERES SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27 AT 9 PM
Special "Oprah Prime" to Air Immediately After Featuring Oprah's In-depth Interview with Michael Sam
Los Angeles - OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air the exclusive documentary, "Michael Sam," on Saturday, December 27 (9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT). The 90-minute documentary follows the life of Michael Sam, who made history when he became the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL. The documentary was originally announced as a multi-part series but transitioned into a 90-minute documentary when shooting was postponed to allow Michael to focus on football.
Following the documentary special, Oprah Winfrey speaks exclusively with Michael Sam in his first television interview since being cut from the NFL on a special episode of "Oprah Prime" beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Partnering with Emmy-winning producer Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Studios and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Amy Rice ("Lindsay," "By The People: The Election of Barack Obama"), the OWN documentary "Michael Sam" follows the former University of Missouri college football star as he enters the world of professional football and vies for a spot on an NFL team. Cameras get up close and personal with Michael as he openly discusses a childhood fraught with tragedy and poverty, as well as his emotional decision to come out as a gay man in the world of pro sports. The documentary captures the moment when Michael was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, the intense media scrutiny that immediately followed, and Michael's struggle to stay focused despite the pressure and chaos. Additionally, the documentary explores Michael's relationship with his boyfriend Vito and the challenge of balancing his personal life alongside his pursuit of NFL stardom.
Following the documentary, Oprah Winfrey exclusively speaks with Michael Sam on "Oprah Prime," discussing the worldwide reaction following his public announcement. Michael talks about his historic decision to come out as a gay man in the world of pro sports and his triumphs and tears as he pursues a career in professional football. Following his release from the St. Louis Rams, Michael was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, though was waived after seven weeks and is now a free agent. Oprah and Michael also talk about his difficult childhood, his boyfriend Vito, and how he hopes sharing his story will further the conversation around equality.
"Michael Sam is breaking down boundaries and showing the world what it means to be authentic to who you are no matter what the circumstance. That's a central theme with the documentary and we hope it continues an important discussion," said Erik Logan, president, OWN and Harpo Studios. "Michael is an inspiration to millions and we are proud to be able to share his courageous story - in his own words - with our audience."
Said Piligian, "We are extremely proud to bring Michael Sam's powerful story to television. A documentary is the ideal format for presenting his groundbreaking journey, which has been driven by his bravery, honesty, and determination."
"Michael Sam" is produced with OWN by Pilgrim Studios and is executive produced by Craig Piligian, Nicholas Caprio and Johnny Gould. Amy Rice, Ralph Wikke and Mitch Rosa are co-executive producers. Howard Bragman is a producer. #MichaelSam
"Oprah Prime" is produced by Harpo Studios, and is executive produced by Andrea Wishom and Tara Montgomery. #OprahPrime
About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand - and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011 and is available in 85 million homes. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own.
About Pilgrim Studios
Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Studios produces a wide variety of unscripted and scripted programming for television, including hit series Fast N' Loud, Misfit Garage and Street Outlaws for Discovery; Ghost Hunters for Syfy; The Ultimate Fighter for FOX Sports 1; Down East Dickering for History; Orange County Choppers and Swamp Pawn for CMT; Welcome to Sweetie Pie's and Raising Whitley for OWN; David Tutera's CELEBrations for WEtv; Wicked Tuna and Wicked Tuna: North vs. South for National Geographic Channel; Amazing America with Sarah Palin, Camp Stew and Saving Private K-9 for Sportsman Channel; Bring It! for Lifetime; and the recently launched Somebody's Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe for CNN. In addition to producing the documentary Lindsay and the upcoming documentary on Michael Sam, both for OWN, Pilgrim also produced the breakout movie Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives for Discovery's 2013 Shark Week, as well as the movie Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine and the special Megalodon: The New Evidence for the channel's Shark Week 2014. In the scripted realm, Pilgrim has produced the pilot Recovery Road ABC Family. The company's original movies for Lifetime include Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy; Abducted: The Carlina White Story, which earned a 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing In A Motion Picture; and the crime thriller Stalkers.