LeBron James Barbershop Talk Show Is Getting Picked Up By HBO
Barbershops in the Black community have always been a place not only to get a haircut and a shave but where you can go and discuss the day’s news and events–and of course get into a few heated debates.
Basketball star LeBron James has turned this experience into a talk show concept called “The Shop” and HBO has decided to pick it up.
Look for the first episode for HBO, which was shot last week in Los Angeles at West Hollywood’s Barber Surgeons Guild, on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 11 p.m. ET/PT. It features James and co-creator and longtime James business partner Maverick Carter in conversation with Snoop Dogg, New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker, and comedian Jon Stewart.
“This show is real, it’s candid and it’s the essence of conversation,” James told The Hollywood Reporter. “And we know with social media and text being the way people communicate, the form of conversation, actually talking, is kind of a lost art.”
So far HBO has ordered a handful of episodes of the program, which first started in 2016 on James’ Uninterrupted digital site.
“Each episode will assemble a mix of personalities in a barbershop for unconstructed, frank talk while the cameras roll; the conversation will then be whittled down to 30-minute episodes,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.
“When I was a kid, being in barbershops meant listening to adults talk about sports, clothing, politics, music, everything happened in the shop,” said James. “It was so real and so candid — no one had a sense of, well I can’t be myself here. That’s how The Shop became an idea.”
There is no set schedule for future “The Shop” programming. “We’ll do it as frequently as the conversation warrants,” says HBO Sports executive vp Peter Nelson. “It’s LeBron’s baby, so he very much wants to do it. And he wants to do it as much as possible.”
“The Shop” is all part of James’ plan to solidify his production venture. James, who will be heading to Los Angeles as part of his four-year, $154 million deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers next season, is developing his
SpringHill Entertainment shingle, which has offices on the Warner Bros. lot. He has “several projects at HBO, including a multi-part documentary about Muhammad Ali directed by Antoine Fuqua and the documentary ‘Student Athlete,’ which is set to bow Oct. 2 and examines the NCAA’s controversial rule barring athletes from earning a cut of the money they bring to their colleges,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.
And, said Nelson, “The Shop” is a perfect fit for HBO Sports. “Sports for us is really about a lens into socioeconomic, political, cultural issues and ideas around virtuosity in competition,” says Nelson. “The barbershop is a place, historically, of secular communion. There are a dearth of forms where athletes and artists who have achieved a certain level of excellence can really feel porous and honest with one other. And so it’s less about, ‘Let’s leverage these names and these relationships, and can we get this person or that person?’ It’s more about who has something to say.”
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the show. “The Shop” is part of an infringement lawsuit. Sebastian Jackson, founder of Adventure Enterprises, has sued Uninterrupted, claiming that “The Shop” concept was stolen from him.
James has been super busy off ball court. Besides “The Shop,” James recently opened the “I Promise” public school in Akron.
When you see LeBron James signing TV deals left and right … and you realize why he really came to the L.A. #Lakers 👏🏾
"Million Dollar Mile" "Shut Up and Dribble" "The Shop" 👀 pic.twitter.com/E2Ja28EWui
— Elisa Hernandez (@EHernandezTV) August 7, 2018