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Brittney Griner teams with Disney for ESPN documentary, scripted series

Disney announced that it will partner with WNBA star Brittney Griner on producing a slew of future multimedia projects based on her yearlong detainment in Russia. 

In a news release on Thursday, Disney said that its partnership with the nine-time WNBA All-Star will eventually result in a documentary feature produced by ESPN Films and a limited scripted series in development with ABC Signature.

Disney, which currently owns ABC and ESPN, also said that Griner is slated to have an exclusive sit down interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts. 

“We are honored that Brittney has entrusted us to share her story of hope, faith and determination across our platforms,” Debra OConnell, president of Networks and Television Business Operations, Disney Entertainment, said in a statement. “Her unwavering perseverance that helped shape her as an athlete has now influenced her leadership as a human rights advocate.”

“Throughout BG’s detainment and in the time since, ESPN, ABC and Disney were supportive and caring in regards to the human side of this saga,” Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner’s wife, said in a statement. Cherelle Griner will also serve as an executive producer on these projects, Disney noted. 

“Love and family were at the center of the fight to get BG home, and with that in mind, there is no better, more trusted partner to tell that story with us.”

The announcement comes as Friday marks a full year since the Biden administration secured the release of Griner from Russia in a prisoner swap for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner, an eight-time WNBA All-Star, was serving a nine-year sentence at a Russian penal colony after being found guilty of possessing hashish oil at a Moscow airport in February 2022 — just days after Russia began its war with neighboring Ukraine. 

Griner, 33, just completed her first season back with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, after missing the entire 2022 season due to her detainment. 

Since then, Griner has used her platform to advocate for the release of Americans who are “wrongfully detained” in other countries, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. 

“The last two years have been the most harrowing, transformative and illuminating period of my life, and I am grateful to be in a place now to share my story with the world,” Griner said in a statement. “I’m proud to partner with ESPN and Disney to share this very personal story because of its incredible potential to inspire hope around the world and their proven ability to do just that.”

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