Connor Schell, Chernin Entertainment Will Launch New Non-Fiction Studio

Brian Steinberg
·2-min read

The ESPN executive who helped oversee landmark sports-journalism projects like “O.J.: Made in America” and “The Last Dance” will team up with Peter Chernin to launch a new content studio

Connor Schell was ESPN’s top content executive until he left the Disney sports-media giant at the end of 2020 in a bid to pursue new ventures. He will serve as the founder and CEO of a new studio with a remit to produce “high quality, culturally relevant, non-fiction storytelling both inside and outside of the sports world,” Chernin Entertainment said in an announcement Wednesday.

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Chernin Entertainment is the sole investor in the new venture. Schell, Chernin and Jesse Jacobs, a co-founder of Chernin Group, will serve on its board of directors. Jenno Topping, president of Chernin Entertainment, will supervise the company’s relationship with the new studio, which includes ” a mutual first look” agreement as they identify scripted and unscripted projects.

“Connor is by far one of the most prolific and talented producers of nonfiction storytelling and brings us a track record and instinct for creating culturally resonant and commercially viable content at a time when demand is high, and supply is low,” Peter Chernin said in a prepared statement. “The opportunities to make a difference and reach audiences with important stories are endless.”

Schell gained renown at ESPN for co-creating that network’s landmark “30 for 30” franchise, a program devoted to longer-form explorations of sports issues and personalities. Schell was an executive producer of ESPN’s “Made in America” series as well as “The Last Dance,” a mini series focused on a deep exploration of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

“I cannot imagine a better partner than Chernin Entertainment,” said Schell in a statement. “Peter’s reputation as a creative force and innovator across the entertainment space speaks for itself, and I am thrilled to work with him and his team. We are looking forward to collaborating with incredible storytellers to tell big, impactful stories of all kinds. I can’t wait to get going.”

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