Netflix Gives ‘Last Chance U’ Another Chance

A little more than two weeks after its first season debuted, the docu-series “Last Chance U,” about junior college football players trying to transition to big time colleges and the pros, has received a second season order from Netflix.

Inspired by an article of the same name by Drew Jubera in GQ magazine in Oct. 2014, “Last Chance U” marked Netflix’s first foray into sports documentary series.

Greg Whiteley (“Mitt,” “New York Doll,” “Resolved”) will return as director for season two, which the streaming giant will once again be producing in association with Condé Nast Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment and Whiteley’s One Potato Productions.

The second season of “Last Chance U” will follow another group of young athletes training under Coach Buddy Stephens at East Mississippi Community College, which graduates more than 20 players per year into football scholarships at four year universities, as well as nine of his former players now in the NFL.

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Greg Whiteley who has genuinely captured both the struggles and triumphs these young men face in a world that often seems designed to hold them back,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of original documentary programming, in a statement. “Coach Buddy Stephens, academic advisor Brittany Wagner and the entire team at EMCC have bravely opened their doors for the filmmakers to capture their real world as it unfolds.”

Netflix has scored headlines with its docu-series “Making of a Murderer,” which was renewed for a second season last month, but the primary focus of its documentary efforts has been features. In 2013, the streaming service’s first original documentary acquisition, “The Square,” received an Oscar nomination, and in 2014 it earned an Oscar nomination for “Virunga,” a documentary about conservationists trying to save mountain gorillas in the Congo executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. It docs “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” both received Oscar nominations this year.

Last week, Netflix announced that it would be premiering four documentaries the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month — “Amanda Knox,” about the American student infamously accused of murdering her Italian roommate; “Into the Inferno,” an exploration of the volcanoes around the world executive produced by DiCaprio, “The Ivory Game,” about efforts to stop ivory trafficking; and “The White Helmets,” a short about volunteer rescue workers trying to save civilians from the effects of war in Aleppo, Syria and Turkey.

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