Pac-12 Networks unveils new docu-series 'The Drive'
14-Part Series Grants Unprecedented Access Inside Arizona State and California Football Programs During 2013 Season
SAN FRANCISCO – On the brink of its sophomore season of live event telecasts and original programming, Pac-12 Networks announces its most ambitious project to date with the series The Drive, premiering Wednesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. PT. The Drive is a 14-part docu-series offering an exclusive look inside the 2013 football season of the Arizona State Sun Devils and California Golden Bears and their quest for the Pac-12 Championship.
Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans first announced the series Friday, July 26 at Pac-12 Football Media Day in Los Angeles. The Sept. 11 premiere will be a one-hour episode, with 13 subsequent half-hour installments following Wednesdays at 7 p.m. PT across all seven networks, with encore showings throughout the week.
The creation and launch of The Drive series encompassed an immense amount of collaboration from a variety of groups at the university, Conference, and Networks level over the past six months.
“One of our initial goals for Pac-12 Networks was to give fans an opportunity to get closer to their favorite teams and gain a new understanding of why being a member of a Pac-12 Conference athletic program is truly special,” said Murphy-Stephans. “The Pac-12 has some of the most talented student-athletes, coaches and support staff in college athletics and we’re excited to give fans a chance to understand all the hard work, emotion and dedication the individuals and their families put into a season.”
From the first whistle of training camp to their final game, Pac-12 Networks film crews will be embedded in inner workings of the Arizona State and California football programs. The series will allow fans to get closer to the coaches, student-athletes and support staff making up both programs and gain an understanding of the highs and lows experienced in a football season from a variety of perspectives.
Viewers can expect to see footage from practices, game days and road trips, as well as what life off the field is like for coaches, student-athletes and staff.
California head coach Sonny Dykes and Arizona State head coach Todd Graham will play an integral role in show content and each team’s video department will also work in cooperation with Pac-12 Networks film crews to provide footage.
“The intimate connection between our team and our fans is one of the things that makes college athletics so special,” Graham said. “This show is another chance to bring all of Sun Devil Nation closer to us and make them an even bigger part of our family than they already are.”
Each episode will toggle between both programs and take viewers through the ins and outs of life during the 2013 Pac-12 football season under the direction of two coaches relatively new to the Conference.
"We're excited to partner with the Pac-12 Networks on this television show that is going to give people a unique insight into our football program,” said Dykes. “We're very proud of the way our student-athletes represent Cal and everything the university stands for. This show will be a great chance for people to get to know our coaching staff and players, and will provide a unique perspective on what happens with Cal football on a day-to-day basis. The more people know about the way we run our program, the more proud they are going to be of Cal football. It's a great opportunity for us to showcase everything associated with our program.”
After finishing the 2012 season with a record of 3-9, the 2013 season is the start of a new regime under Dykes, who is entering his first year at the helm of California. The Golden Bears return 16 total starters, but still rank as one of the youngest teams in the nation with new faces starting at quarterback and running back positions. It will be a tough road for Dykes and the Golden Bears as their 2013 schedule ranks as the third and fourth most difficult in Division 1A by two media outlets. California will face eight teams who played in bowls last season, plus an Ohio State squad, who finished a perfect 12-0 last year, despite not being bowl-eligible due to NCAA sanctions.
Graham begins his second year as head coach of Arizona State, who posted its first winning season in 2012 since 2007 with a record of 8-5 that included a win over Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Unlike California, ASU has its starting quarterback set heading into training camp with redshirt junior Taylor Kelly picking up where he left off in 2012. With six starters returning on offense and eight returning on defense, including consensus All-American and 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton, it’s no surprise ASU heads into the fall picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South Division in the preseason media poll. However, Arizona State will have its work cut out with a non-conference schedule that includes a home matchup versus Wisconsin and a road trip to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to face Notre Dame.
Leading the production on The Drive are Pac-12 Networks’ Senior Coordinating Producer of Original Productions Michael Tolajian, Emmy Award-winning producer Jim Jorden and Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth.
With over 25 years of production experience, Tolajian joined Pac-12 Networks in April 2013. He previously spent 13 years at the helm of his own production company, BonaFide Films, where he served a variety of roles on productions for ESPN's ‘30 for 30,’ HBO, FOX, TNT, NBA, MLB, NHL and Showtime. Tolajian earned two Emmys as a producer on projects for NBA Entertainment/Turner and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
Jorden adds an additional 24 years of production experience and 16 Emmy nods, working on productions for a bevy of networks including ESPN, NBC, FOX, TNT, HBO and SPEED. He spent 15 years as a producer and video editor for NFL Films, working on several of their award-winning series such as Hard Knocks, NFL Films Presents, Road to the Super Bowl and Inside the NFL. After NFL Films, Jorden spent seven years as Managing Director/Executive Producer of Production for NASCAR Media Group. During that time he spearheaded the production of 69 series and seven feature-length documentaries.
In addition to his role as an analyst with Pac-12 Networks and previous stint as an assistant football coach at USC, Roth holds several production credits on projects for NFL Films and ESPN. He also co-authored the book Win Forever alongside current Seattle Seahawks head coach and former USC head coach Pete Carroll, which has ranked as high as No. 7 on The New York Times bestsellers’ list.
The Drive is one of several new original series that will debut in Pac-12 Networks’ second season of live television programming that also includes an increase from 550 to 750 live event productions. Fans will also be able to access additional clips and content from The Drive on Pac-12.com, CalBears.com and TheSunDevils.com throughout the series.
About Pac-12 Networks
Headquartered in San Francisco’s SOMA district, Pac-12 Networks is the new content and multiplatform media company for the Pac-12 Conference, a leader in collegiate athletics that includes 12 of the most prestigious universities in the world. Pac-12 Networks was created in 2011 to develop and launch one national and six full-time native HD linear networks available to video programming operators, as well as a digital network dedicated solely to the Pac-12. The linear networks televise hundreds of live sporting events annually and provide 24/7 access to Pac-12 teams and universities. Pac-12 Digital encompasses the digital network, mobile, the university websites, social media and innovative digital initiatives across the company.