[07/11/24 - 08:00 AM]
Prime Video Orders "The Greatest," Starring Jaalen Best, from Amazon MGM Studios, Outlier Society, Roc Nation, Blue Monday Productions, Authentic Studios, Polygram Entertainment, and Grace: A Storytelling Company
Jaalen Best is set to play the titular role in the series.

[via press release from Amazon]

Prime Video Orders "The Greatest," Starring Jaalen Best, from Amazon MGM Studios, Outlier Society, Roc Nation, Blue Monday Productions, Authentic Studios, Polygram Entertainment, and Grace: A Storytelling Company

Ben Watkins set as showrunner and executive producer of the first authorized series on the life of global icon and humanitarian Muhammad Ali

CULVER CITY, California - July 11, 2024 - Today, Prime Video announced that it has ordered The Greatest, the first authorized scripted series about the life of global icon, boxing champion, and humanitarian Muhammad Ali. The series, which has unprecedented access to the estate of Ali, is produced by Michael B. Jordan's (The Creed Franchise) Outlier Society, Ben Watkins' Blue Monday Productions, Authentic Studios, Roc Nation, Polygram Entertainment, a Universal Music Group partner, and Grace: A Storytelling Company, with Watkins (Cross) set as showrunner and executive producer.

Jaalen Best (All American: Homecoming) is set to play the titular role in the series. The Greatest will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

The Greatest intimately explores the incomparable life of Muhammad Ali. The amazing victories and defeats that made Ali a legend, both in and out of the ring, have been well documented and while those landmark events will live in The Greatest, the heartbeat of the story is fueled by all the moments that took place outside of the spotlight. The world remembers an icon, but The Greatest is about a man, a husband, a father, a brother, and a son.

"Muhammed Ali defined commitment and passion for multiple generations of Americans. His journey is best told in full by a team whose dedication reflects that example," said Vernon Sanders, head of television, Amazon MGM Studios. "Ali's is an awe-inspiring story of one of the most significant global figures of the 20th century. We are proud to work with Ben alongside Outlier, Roc Nation, Polygram, Grace, Authentic Brands, Lonnie Ali, and the very talented Jaalen Best, who we know will do a remarkable job bringing The Greatest to life for our global Prime Video customers."

"To be trusted with the honor of telling the story of my most cherished hero, Muhammad Ali, is humbling and scary, and a dream come true," said Watkins. "I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride, responsibility, and most of all, gratitude."

"I'm thrilled to be producing The Greatest alongside Ben Watkins who captured the essence and nuance of Muhammad. With Jaalen Best, we have uncovered a soulful gem. He is such a talented young man who not only embodies Muhammad, but exudes his resilience, courage, charisma and confidence," said Lonnie Ali.

"On behalf of the Outlier Society team, I want to thank the incomparable Lonnie Ali for entrusting us to tell the story of one of the greatest humanitarians in the history of the world. It is with humility and gratitude that we will begin the journey of making this wonderful show," Elizabeth Raposo, Executive Producer and President Outlier Society.

"We are excited to participate in a project celebrating the iconic athlete, trailblazer, and activist, Muhammad Ali. His impact extended far beyond the boxing ring, using his platform to inspire and transform culture," said Desiree Perez, CEO, Roc Nation. It's an honor to collaborate with all our partners, especially Lonnie Ali. "The Greatest," is a perfect title for a show dedicated to his legacy."

"It's been an honor to work with Lonnie to tell the incredible story of how Cassius Clay became the iconic Muhammad Ali. We look forward to sharing this personal portrait with his fans around the world," said Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President, Universal Music Group.

"It's been a longtime dream to tell Ali's remarkable life story as a television series, which is the only way to truly capture his greatness, and I'm grateful to Lonnie and the assembled team who also share my passion for getting The Greatest to the screen," said executive producer Josh Wakely, who secured the life story rights to Ali and brought the project to Amazon.

Alongside Watkins and Jordan, Outlier Society president Elizabeth Raposo will executive produce. Lonnie Ali, the widow of the late legend, along with Authentic Brand Group's Corey Salter, Marc Rosen and Matthew Gross, will serve as executive producers on the series. Additional executive producers will include Roc Nation; Michele Anthony, Boyd Muir, and Co-EP David Blackman for Polygram; and Josh Wakely via his Grace: A Storytelling Company. Stefano Agosto, Executive Vice President of Television at Outlier Society will also oversee the project on behalf of Outlier.

The Greatest is produced by Amazon MGM Studios in association with Outlier Society, Authentic Studios, Blue Monday Productions, Roc Nation, Polygram Entertainment, and Grace: A Storytelling Company.


Outlier Society has their first-look deal and exclusive television deal at Amazon. They most recently produced Creed III for MGM/Amazon, which released last year to stellar reviews and grossed $275M at the worldwide box office - the highest grossing entry in the franchise yet. Jordan made his directorial debut and reprised his role as Adonis Creed in this successful latest installment of the beloved franchise. Also, in development with Amazon MGM Studios, Outlier Society is developing a series adaptation of the massive best-selling YA book series The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros for Prime Video. On the film side, at Amazon, Outlier Society has The Thomas Crown Affair in the works, as well as thriller The Dwelling by Aaron Guzikowski, sci-fi action adventurer T-Minus in partnership with the Philp K. Dick estate, Iron Curtain with Christopher McQuarrie, and an adaptation of Akwaeke Emzi's novel You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty being adapted by Tarell McCraney and Mfnoiso Udofia. Outside of Amazon, they are also currently developing an adaptation of Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 at Paramount Pictures with Chad Stahelski (John Wick) directing and an I Am Legend follow up at WBD.


Since its founding in 2008, Roc Nation has grown into the world's preeminent entertainment company. As a full-service organization, Roc Nation supports a diverse roster of talent via artist management, music publishing, touring, production, strategic brand development, the Roc Nation Sports agency, films and beyond.


Founded by Watkins and his wife Kandi, Blue Monday Productions was established with a dedication to exceptional storytelling and commitment to community service. Their upcoming series Cross, produced with Paramount Television Studios and Skydance Television, will debut on Prime Video on November 14th in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. Currently in production for season 2 after an early renewal, the complex, twisted, pulse-pounding thriller stars Aldis Hodge as the titular character and is based on the worldwide best-selling Alex Cross book series by James Patterson. In addition to Cross and The Greatest, Blue Monday has a significant slate of upcoming projects in development. Their Breakthrough Artist Program - a three-month paid apprenticeship for writing, producing and/or directing - focuses on increasing access and accelerating the learning curve for artists who have demonstrated exceptional talent, a commitment to community, and giving back. Watkins previously created and served as executive producer for Hand of God (Prime Video), and executive producer for Burn Notice (USA), Truth Be Told (Apple), and Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu). An industry vet, hailing from Berkeley, the prolific showrunner started his career as an actor playing Dr. Wesley Carter on The Young and the Restless. His first foray into writing was the short film Quest to Ref, which he wrote, co-directed and starred in. The film won the American Black Film Festival and was an official Sundance Film Festival Selection. Watkins actively supports community programs and people working in and around civil rights, public education, and homelessness. He is a founding member of Sweat Equity Alliance (SEA Change), a community activist organization in the South Bay and recently joined the Board of Directors for Friends of Allensworth (the first town in California to be to be founded, financed, and governed by African Americans). He is also active within the WGA, serving on several committees and as a core member of the Showrunner's Training Program.


Authentic Studios is a subsidiary of Authentic Brands Group (Authentic), a global brand development, marketing and entertainment platform, which owns a portfolio of more than 50 iconic and world-renowned Lifestyle, Entertainment and Media brands. Authentic Studios is a global media company currently comprised of four distinct labels that develops and produces premium content across the film, television, audio and commercial landscape. They include Shaquille O'Neal's Jersey Legends, David Beckham's Studio 99, Sports Illustrated Studios, and Authentic Productions. Each label creates diversified content in all formats around Authentic's key portfolio of brands and media properties. Their most recent productions include Netflix's Beckham (Studio 99), Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Elvis and NBC's Christmas at Graceland (Authentic Productions), the HBO Emmy nominated docuseries Shaq (Jersey Legends), as well as 99 (Studio 99), which was released on Prime Video earlier this month. Authentic Studios is currently in various stages of production on numerous projects highlighted by the Untitled Allen Iverson documentary (Prime Video), The Money Game (Prime Video) and the Shaquille O'Neal and Gina Rodriguez hosted game show Lucky 13 (ABC).


Polygram Entertainment is the film and television arm of Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment. Built on the foundation of the world's most comprehensive and storied music catalog, Polygram Entertainment develops, produces, and finances music-driven content that inspires and engages fans of all ages around the world. From premium documentaries to original scripted features and scripted and unscripted television, Polygram Entertainment productions explore the ways in which music shapes culture, informs our worldview, and brings us closer together. Polygram Entertainment's acclaimed, award-winning projects include the recently released docuseries STAX: Soulsville U.S.A, about the legendary Memphis-based record label; docuseries James Brown: Say It Loud; Love to Love You, Donna Summer, directed by Roger Ross Williams and Brooklyn Sudano; Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues from director Sacha Jenkins; Todd Haynes' The Velvet Underground; Frank Marshall's The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart; Beastie Boys Story from director Spike Jonze; Alison Ellwood's The Go-Go's; Pavarotti from director Ron Howard; Roger Ross Williams' The Apollo; the Emmy Award-winning series Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and the subsequent telefilm Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas. Upcoming projects include Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville's Man on the Run, a feature documentary that explores Paul McCartney following the breakup of The Beatles and the formation of Wings with Linda McCartney; and scripted features about KISS and The Osbournes.


Grace: A Storytelling Company is a film and television production company led by filmmaker Josh Wakely. Grace specializes in acquiring globally-recognized IP to tell inspiring stories and to extend and manifest the genius of cultural icons in music, sports and politics. Wakely created, co-wrote, directed, and was showrunner on the Emmy-winning Beat Bugs (Netflix), an animated series inspired by and using the Beatles' music catalog. Wakely also created and ran the animated series Motown Magic (Netflix), featuring the classic sounds of Motown and executive produced by Smokey Robinson. Wakely is part of the team of the upcoming premium dramatic series The Greatest (Prime Video), the first authorized series of Muhammad Ali, based on Ali's life rights. Grace is also developing a live-action scripted-series with Bob Dylan based on the songs and characters found in Dylan's compositions, in addition to other film and television in development.

About Prime Video

Prime Video is a one-stop entertainment destination offering customers a vast collection of premium programming in one application available across thousands of devices. On Prime Video, customers can find their favorite movies, series, documentaries, and live sports - including Amazon MGM Studios-produced series and movies Road House, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Fallout, Reacher, The Boys, and The Idea of You; licensed fan favorites American Fiction and The Boys in the Boat; Prime member exclusive access to coverage of live sports including Thursday Night Football, WNBA, and NWSL, and acclaimed sports documentaries including Bye Bye Barry and Federer; and programming from Prime Video add-on subscriptions such as Max, Crunchyroll and MGM+, as well as more than 500 free ad-supported (FAST) Channels. Prime members in the U.S. can share a variety of benefits, including Prime Video, by using Amazon Household. Prime Video is one benefit among many that provides savings, convenience, and entertainment as part of the Prime membership. All customers, regardless of whether they have a Prime membership or not, can rent or buy titles, including blockbusters such as Challengers and The Fall Guy, via the Prime Video Store, and can enjoy content such as Jury Duty and Bosch: Legacy free with ads on Freevee. Customers can also go behind the scenes of their favorite movies and series with exclusive X-Ray access. For more info visit www.amazon.com/primevideo.

  [july 2024]  


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