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They’re making a fictionalized TV show out of PEDs in baseball

May 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

old TV

This is fun: there is a proposed TV series for Showtime called “Dope.” It’s ” an hourlong drama about the business of performance-enhancing drugs for athletes and the doctor who popularized it in South Florida.” Attached to it are a couple of reporters who worked on the Biogenesis stories last year.

As friend of HBT and Technology Tell writer Stephen Silver notes, If done right this could be good. They GOTTA play this with some serious comedic and absurdist angles. There is high comedy to be had regarding athletes setting up fake websites to cover their tracks, using personal checks to pay for drugs and having them delivered to the ballpark, reporters asking ballplayers to pee in cups on demand like Rick Reilly did that time, Clemens’ ridiculous p.r. assault after the Mitchell report came out and a billion other angles. Ultra-seriousness could play a part — if you touch on kids and drugs and stuff, sure, go for The Message — but too much of that will make it into some unbearable and unintentionally silly “Reefer Madness” thing.

Also, a suggestion: if you’re going to cast a role for an obnoxious blogger/PED apologist, you could do way worse than hiring Jim Rash:



  1. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Props for Jim Rash.

    Maybe Michael Stipe as a back up

    • okwhitefalcon - May 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      Stipe/Moby – whatever it takes.

  2. paperlions - May 19, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    If it is fictional, will they have an episode about how extensive PED use leads to vampirism and predilection towards ochre colored sweaters?

  3. chacochicken - May 19, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    How about they do a “Weekend at Bernie’s”/Howard Hughes thing with the commissioner of baseball. 30 wacky owners, one decomposing corpse. Scott Glenn could be the smug, maybe dead, maybe not chief.

  4. southpaw2k - May 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    If this series makes it to air, I wonder if MLB will try killing it in similar fashion the way the NFL had killed ESPN’s series Playmakers a decade ago.

    • Wesley Clark - May 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Playmakers. The reality series that hit way to close to home. If only baseball had testing as stringent as the NF….Wait….what’s that?

    • gloccamorra - May 19, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      MLB could try financing their own series, about abuse of child actors in Hollywood.

    • Kevin Gillman - May 19, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      I was thinking the very same thing. I liked Playmakers too.

    • DJ MC - May 19, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      The important difference there is that ESPN and the NFL have a long-standing relationship. Actually, since the NFL and Showtime have a relationship with Inside the NFL, you’ll probably never see a similar show on that channel based around football, even though it would be the perfect place.

      Showtime and MLB, as far as I know, have no such relationship. As long as they don’t tread too close to MLB logos and other properties, there’s not much the sport could to about it.

      • southpaw2k - May 20, 2014 at 7:57 AM

        hasn’t Showtime aired a series somewhat similar to Hard Knocks about the reigning World Series champions the last couple years? I know they did a series about the Giants the year after they had won the championship a couple years ago, and I thought they had done at least one other series since then.

        But you’re right – Showtime and MLB’s relationship is not nearly as long and intimate as ESPN and the NFL.

  5. kardshark1 - May 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    They should cast all aging actors who are in decline, then this show about PEDs can revive their career.

  6. zzalapski - May 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    I know the actual incident occurred in the NFL, but they could work in a plot about trying to sneak dried urine and a Whizzinator past airport security.

  7. elmo - May 19, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    I’m going to be very disappointed if there isn’t a cameo by Jose Canseco.

  8. jrob23 - May 19, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    But will they have a cantankerous PED apologist blogger on it whose skills would be better served on TMZ’s website?

  9. gloccamorra - May 19, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I’m not holding my breath waiting for this one to air. There may be no such thing as bad publicity, but the caveat about a ‘resemblance to any person, living or dead’ won’t stop lawyers from having a field day. Studio lawyers would have to parse every word of every script, and the studio chiefs would realize the risks are not worth the trouble.

  10. thetoolsofignorance - May 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    This show needs an obnoxious commentariat in the background typing sarcasm. Brad Pitt shall play TheToolsOfIgnorance.

  11. disgracedfury - May 20, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    Bud Selig will be played by Brad Pitt and be hero of the story.

  12. jimmyt - May 20, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    “Obnoxious blogger/PED apologist”.

    At least you are finally comfortably owning the title.

  13. deathmonkey41 - May 20, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    I hear there’s going to be a character who plays for the Boston Scarlet Hose whose nickname is Big Daddy.

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