With the NBA season suspended amid coronavirus concerns around the world, plenty of basketball fans have been asking, or rather begging, ESPN to release “The Last Dance,” a documentary series covering Michael Jordan’s final season with the Bulls.
The documentary features never-before-seen footage from Chicago’s 1997-98 championship campaign, including interviews with Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and other key members of the Bulls’ dynasty. It is also spread out over 10 parts, which is hardly a problem considering it could be months before NBA teams return to action.
ESPN will give in to fan requests and move up the release date to take advantage of the gap in the sports calendar. Here are the latest details on “The Last Dance” and when it will be available to watch.
‘The Last Dance’ release date on ESPN
- Date: Sunday, April 19 through Sunday, May 17
- Time: New episodes at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET
- How to watch: ESPN (United States), Netflix (international)
“The Last Dance” is set to premiere on Sunday, April 19 at 9 p.m. ET. The 10-part series will be played on ESPN in the U.S. Netflix owns the international rights to show the documentary.
‘The Last Dance’ TV schedule
Two new episodes of “The Last Dance” will air on ESPN each Sunday starting April 19. The two previous parts of the documentary series can be watched before the new episodes premiere. For example, on Sunday, April 26, Episode 1 and Episode 2 will re-air at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET before the premieres of Episode 3 and Episode 4.
Netflix will roll out episodes in similar fashion for international viewers with two new parts hitting the streaming service following the live showings in the U.S.
ESPN (United States)
|April 19||Episode 1||9 p.m. ET|
|April 19||Episode 2||10 p.m. ET|
|April 26||Episode 3||9 p.m. ET|
|April 26||Episode 4||10 p.m. ET|
|May 3||Episode 5||9 p.m. ET|
|May 3||Episode 6||10 p.m. ET|
|May 10||Episode 7||9 p.m. ET|
|May 10||Episode 8||10 p.m. ET|
|May 17||Episode 9||9 p.m. ET|
|May 17||Episode 10||10 p.m. ET|
|April 20||Episode 1||12:01 a.m. PT|
|April 20||Episode 2||12:01 a.m. PT|
|April 27||Episode 3||12:01 a.m. PT|
|April 27||Episode 4||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 4||Episode 5||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 4||Episode 6||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 11||Episode 7||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 11||Episode 8||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 18||Episode 9||12:01 a.m. PT|
|May 18||Episode 10||12:01 a.m. PT|
Why did ESPN move up the Michael Jordan documentary release?
ESPN is taking advantage of the appetite for sports programming with nearly all professional sporting events canceled or postponed through April.
The original release date, set for June 2, had been up in the air after a recent ESPN advertisement for “The Last Dance” fueled rumors about a new timeline. The promo said “coming soon” instead of “coming in June.”
“As society navigates this time without live sports, viewers are still looking to the sports world to escape and enjoy a collective experience,” ESPN said in a statement about the documentary series. “We’ve heard the calls from fans asking us to move up the release date for this series, and we’re happy to announce that we’ve been able to accelerate the production schedule to do just that.
“This project celebrates one of the greatest players and dynasties ever, and we hope it can serve as a unifying entertainment experience to fill the role that sports often play in our lives, telling a story that will captivate everyone, not just sports fans.”
What will ‘The Last Dance’ cover?
During the 1997-98 NBA season, a film crew was given access to follow the Bulls as they chased a second three-peat. “The Last Dance” reveals how Jordan and the Bulls captured their sixth NBA championship — and details all of the drama that surrounded one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.
With so many Jordan highlights and stories available online, viewers could be wondering if “The Last Dance” will simply rehash previous works. For any skeptics out there, this documentary does feel different.
“Michael Jordan and the ’90s Bulls weren’t just sports superstars, they were a global phenomenon,” director Jason Hehir said in a press release. “Making ‘The Last Dance’ was an incredible opportunity to explore the extraordinary impact of one man and one team. For nearly three years, we searched far and wide to present the definitive story of an era-defining dynasty and to present these sports heroes as humans.
“I hope viewers enjoy watching our series as much as we enjoyed the opportunity to make it.”
ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ trailer