Just a few weeks after HBO debuted a Los Angeles Lakers-themed drama called Winning Time, the Los Angeles Clippers are getting a limited series on rival network FX. But The Sterling Affairs isn’t about the team’s history. Instead, the story will focus on the downfall of former owner, Donald Sterling, who will be portrayed by Ed O’Neill on screen. The news comes a month after Jacki Weaver was cast as Shelly Sterling, the wife of the disgraced Clippers’ owner.
As previously reported, Laurence Fishburne will be playing Doc Rivers who served as Head Coach for the basketball team during the Sterling controversy. The Ed O’Neill led-series is written by Gina Welch and based on the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast of the same name which is reported and hosted by Ramona Shelburne. Kevin Bray will direct and serves as executive producer on the first block of episodes. There is currently no production date set for the series. But like every FX original, it will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.
Speaking to Deadline about the Ed O’Neill-led The Sterling Affairs in April, FX’s President of Original Programming Nick Grad was filled with praise for Gina Welch. He said she did a tremendous job of adapting this story for the network. He added that her writing captured the historic resolve and grace of Doc Rivers and the Clippers players during this shocking event. She was able to build on Ramona Shelburne’s groundbreaking reporting, and alongside Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, managed to delve even deeper into this pivotal moment in modern basketball history.
According to Deadline, the six-episode Ed O’Neill series tells the behind-the-scenes story of Coach Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers’ quest to bring a championship to one of the worst sports franchises in history. The team persevered despite its owner’s fall from grace. Donald Sterling’s allegedly racist behavior is also brought to light amid the power struggle between his wife of over 60 and his mistress. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson’s Color Force are also producing, alongside Welch, Jacobson, Simpson, and Shelburne.
The Sterling Affairs will be Ed O’Neill’s first television role since the Modern Family wrapped in 2020. The veteran actor starred in every episode of the sitcom throughout its 11-season run on ABC. During his time on the show, he earned three Emmy nominations. The 76-year-old is also well known for his role as Al Bundy in the hit Fox sitcom Married…With Children. He also appeared in several comedies like Family Guy, Weird City, and Penguins of Madagascar.
Ed O’Neill has collected an impressive catalog of movie credits during his extensive acting career. This includes appearances in The Bone Collector, Little Giants, Dutch, and The Spanish Prisoner. His latest offering was in the 2020 comedy drama The Last Shift. Written and directed by Andrew Cohn, the story follows Stanley’s last shift at his fast-food job. But things take an unexpected turn when he befriends a young African-American employee.
Starring alongside Ed O’Neill is Richard Jenkins, Shane Paul McGhie, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Birgundi Baker, and Allison Tolman. The movie premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and was released to the general public in September.