Monday Night Mayhem (2001)
John Turturro , Kevin Anderson , Nick Turturro Rating: TV-14-L


"Grid-iron entertainment!" - People Magazine

"A solid, enjoyable account of the glory days of Monday Night Football." - USA Today

Golden Globe ® -nominated actor John Turturro (Quiz Show, Barton Fink) stars as legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell in the Turner Network Television (TNT) Original film MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM, a candid behind-the-scenes look at the launch and lasting impact of Monday Night Football ® and the colorful personalities that made it an institution.

John Heard (Home Alone, The Pelican Brief) plays ABC Sports president Roone Arledge; Eli Wallach (The Godfather Part III) plays ABC president Leonard Goldenson; Nicholas Turturro (NYPD Blue) portrays Monday Night Football ® director Chet Forte; Kevin Anderson (Sleeping with the Enemy) plays Frank Gifford; Patti LuPone (Summer of Sam, Driving Miss Daisy) portrays Emmy Cosell and Brad Beyer (The General's Daughter) plays Don Meredith. Leslie Greif (Walker, Texas Ranger, Heaven's Prisoners, Keys to Tulsa) executive-produces the two-hour film, and Ernest Dickerson (Bones, Strange Justice) directs from a script by Emmy-nominated Bill Carter (The Late Shift), based on the popular and candid book by Marc Gunther and Carter. Lewis Kleinberg is the co-executive producer.

When Monday Night Football ® premiered in 1970, television sports exploded into prime time. The concept was revolutionary but simple - Roone Arledge conceived Monday Night Football® as an event. The show would not simply be a broadcast of a football game, it would put viewers in the heat of the action and make them feel the drama, with strategically placed cameras and microphones, and a booth featuring not two but three announcers, who were let loose to generate excitement and stir up controversy.

The chemistry between Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford was a key ingredient, as they brought even the most lackluster football game to life. They were the voice of a generation of journalists who were not afraid to "tell it like it is." Fans either loved them or they hated them - but, either way, they tuned in.

The look of Monday Night Football® was equally innovative. Monday Night Football® was the first football coverage to use nine cameras strategically placed around the field to capture not only the action but also the reactions of the fans and the players. They were the first to place microphones in the stands with the fans and on the field to capture the crunch of each tackle, and they were the first to use instant replay as an important analysis tool. What had formerly been just a football game was elevated to the level of a national event, and virtually overnight, sports became entertainment and sportscasters were the new rock stars. As Cosell is famous for saying, "We're bigger than the game." Everyone from President Nixon to John Lennon to Farrah Fawcett to Burt Reynolds visited the booth, as Monday Night Football® became the place to see and be seen.

MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making and maintaining of a television phenomenon with insight and humor. From early discussions with the NFL, to Arledge's quest for the perfect trio of announcers (ultimately teaming Cosell, Meredith and Gifford in a combination that proved to be as controversial as it was magical), through its rocky start and eventual success that approached cult status. MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM also analyzes the challenges that ABC faced in maintaining its franchise when hostility between Cosell, Meredith and Gifford surfaced and when Meredith left for NBC after the fourth season. The film also highlights some of Monday Night Football®'s most unforgettable moments, including Cosell's announcement during one game that John Lennon had been murdered.

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