As the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeanie Buss is well known in the world of professional basketball. Now she’s making a name for herself in Hollywood as well.
As if she didn’t have enough on her plate overseeing one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, she is plenty busy as well guiding multiple productions, including a new Hulu documentary on which she serves as executive producer, “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” which premiered last month.
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In addition, she is about to relaunch beginning Sept. 17 the WOW: Women of Wrestling league — that she owned since 2011 as a syndicated property — both in the U.S. and abroad in partnership with Paramount. She’s also teamed up with Mindy Kaling on a scripted comedy in development at Netflix that offers a thinly veiled fictional version of her life as a team owner.
If that’s not all, there’s the shadow cast over her life by the HBO series “Winning Time,” which offers a less-than-ideal depiction of the Buss family and its origin story running the Lakers. As she explained on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” it’s small comfort to her that she may be the only person recreated for the show who gets a pretty flattering treatment.
Listen to the podcast here:
“People have said that to me as if that would make me feel better,” said Buss. “That’s just Season 1, If they continue to Season 2 or 3 or 4 or whatever, they will come after my character. And certainly not that I’m perfect, but, you know, I have done some things that are controversial, and lived a rather public life in terms of who I’ve dated. So I’m sure at some level, it’ll be my turn, or my character’s turn, to be roasted.”
She says that it’s coincidental that the “Legacy” doc, which she’s been working on for the past seven years, emerged on the heels of “Winning.” But she’s glad it offers a more realistic depiction of how her father, Dr. Jerry Buss, took over the team and transformed the sport of basketball.
“It was important to me to tell my dad’s story to a generation now that many have heard his name, but didn’t really know what he did that made it so special,” she said.
Buss is more excited about how she’ll be portrayed in her project with Kaling. “I’ve shared a lot of information with her, things that have happened that a writer couldn’t dream up.”
She has high hopes for the return of WOW, which has struggled to get traction in the marketplace, thanks to a new deal with Paramount that will put the league in syndicated time slots across the country.
“Now we finally have the right partner, that will give us the exposure that we so desperately needed to show that women can draw ratings, that women can be the center stage,” she said.
“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
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