Showbusiness Rumors

The Los Angeles Clippers’ dance squad is getting its own reality series. E! Entertainment said Monday the series that is scheduled to debut early next year will show what it’s like to be a member of the squad on and off the court. Eight one-hour episodes of “L.A. Clippers Dance Squad” are scheduled to air on the cable network. The show will take viewers through summer auditions to choose the squad and the dancers’ emotions and ambitions. Among the producers of the series is Cash Warren, husband of actress Jessica Alba and whose father Mike Warren starred at UCLA under basketball coach John Wooden. The show is produced by Mandalay Sports Media, whose co-founder is Peter Guber, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Away from the packed arenas and television cameras, the professional lives of N.B.A. players in an 82-game season can border on mundane — especially in less glamorous stops like Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. It is an oddly specific plight that the marketing departments of major film studios have begun to recognize. Increasingly, professional sports teams are receiving invitations for free private screenings of movies before they are released to the public. The only cost for the teams and players is an expectation that, if they like the film, they might let their fans know about it. Such movie nights are not attempted when teams pass through Miami, Los Angeles and New York, where players need no help finding entertainment off the court. But most league cities are not South Beach, and these movie nights happen to benefit all parties involved: Team officials cherish any opportunity to foster camaraderie among players in a controlled environment; the players welcome any assistance in combating the doldrums of the road.
The Nets’ screenings are organized by Matt Riccardi, the team’s senior manager of basketball operations, who receives invitations from Jeff Pomeroy, a public relations consultant focused on sports who counts several major studios as clients. Riccardi then conducts an informal poll of the players, sometimes sending them a link to a trailer, to gauge interest. The movies might feel like a rainy day activity at summer camp, but to Riccardi, who is in charge of the team’s player development program, they fit into his larger effort to provide players with positive experiences away from the court. In Memphis, Riccardi accompanied two players to the National Civil Rights Museum. In Atlanta, the team met with Tommie Smith, a gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics, famous for his black power salute on the podium. Riccardi said he was considering a bowling night this week in Boston.