ESPN goes to the movies (again)

ESPN has green-lit production of its next original movie, Ruffian, based on the true story of the racehorse considered the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. The movie is slated to begin principal photography late next month.

When the movie airs in June, 2007 it ll push the limits of release window flexibility. Within four days it will be seen on ABC, ESPN, air on the Internet at ESPN360, be shown in HD on ESPNHD (and ABC) and also be available on VOD, sold as a DVD and also have additional content at ESPN.com, Mobile ESPN and ESPN Motion.

ESPN also rolled out its programming plans for 2006. They include a second season of the reality boxing program The Contender and the debut of Knight School, a reality hoops program where 16 walk-ons try to make Bobby Knight s Texas Tech Squad.

Other debuts include a new original paintball series, the 2005 NPPL National Championship (April 10), The World Series of Darts (July), as well as the second season of Battle of the Gridiron Stars (April 11).