Amazon gives season order to ‘A League of Their Own’ series

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Geena Davis stars in 1992’s “A League of Their Own.” [Columbia PIctures photo]

Amazon has tossed out a series order for its reboot of “A League of Their Own” months after wrapping production on the pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”) and Will Graham (“The Onion News Network”) created the series, which is billed as a reinterpretation of Penny Marshall’s 1992 feature film starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Lori Petty about the World War II-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Graham now becomes the showrunner on two Amazon series, along with “Daisy Jones and the Six.” Both projects come out of his overall deal with Amazon that started back with the critically acclaimed series “Mozart in the Jungle.”

Jacobson will star in Amazon’s “A League of Their Own,” with hourlong episodes that will delve into sexuality and race while centering on a new ensemble of women in and out of baseball.

“Twenty-eight years ago, Penny Marshall told us a story about women playing professional baseball that up until then had been largely overlooked. We grew up obsessed with the film, like everyone else. Three years ago, we approached Sony with the idea of telling a new, still overlooked set of those stories. With the help of an enormously talented team of collaborators, an amazing cast, and the devoted support of Amazon to this project, we feel beyond lucky and excited to get to bring these characters to life,” Graham and Jacobson said in a joint statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

“It took grit, fire, authenticity, wild imagination and a crackling sense of humor for these players to achieve their dreams. We’re hoping to bring audiences a story with all of those qualities.”

Three-time Primetime Emmy nominee Jamie Babbit (“Silicon Valley”) directed the pilot.

Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Kelly McCormack, Roberta Colindrez and Priscilla Delgado star alongside Jacobson, while Molly Ephraim, Kate Berlant and Melanie Field are recurring guest stars.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, some surviving members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League reportedly acted as consultants on the pilot and are expected to continue working with the series.

“There’s no crying in baseball, or at Prime Video,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of television at Amazon, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Will and Abbi have taken a classic movie, reimagining it for a new generation with new characters and their own fresh, modern vision on a timeless story of big dreams, friendship, love, and, of course, baseball. We’re so excited to partner with Sony to bring this emotional, exciting new series to our Prime Video customers around the world.”

The series started in development in March 2018, and The Hollywood Reporter cites sources that say Graham and Jacobson spoke to both Marshall, who died in Dec. 17, 2018, and Davis in advance to get their blessing for the Amazon series.

Davis and Petty starred in the film as rival sisters who are recruited to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s Rockford Peaches as Major League Baseball is hampered by WWII, with Hanks as their surly manager Jimmy Dugan, a character who was inspired by big league legends Jimmie Foxx and Hack Wilson. The cast also included Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Cavanagh, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn and Penny Marshall’s brother and fellow director, Garry Marshall.

Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel penned the 1992 screenplay based on a story by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson. Produced on a budget of $40 million, Penny Marshall’s film knocked it out of the park with a gross of $132 million worldwide.

CBS previously tried to make a “A League of Their Own” TV series in 1993 starring Cavanagh and Tracy Reiner. Although Ganz and Mandel created the series, with Marshall directing, it only lasted a few episodes.

But the film’s following has only grown over the years, with quotes like “There’s no crying in baseball” finding their way into the cultural lexicon.  In 2012, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry.


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