Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Michael DeHoog/Sports Imagery/Getty Images, VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

FX hasn’t dropped the ball on this idea yet. In 2021, the network announced that it would be expanding Ryan Murphy’s American Story franchise with some new spin-offs, including American Sports Story. According to a series description, this athletic anthology will re-examine a “prominent event” involving a sports figure “through the prism of today’s world, telling that story from multiple perspectives.” Even when the show paused shooting amid the SAG-AFTRA strike, new details about casting, plot, and production continued to trickle in. Below, here’s everything we know about American Sports Story so far.

Get ready to follow the rise and fall of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2015 and ultimately died by suicide in prison. The show will examine the late NFL player’s identity, family, career, death, and legacy. If you want a preview, consider checking out Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc., the podcast from The Boston Globe and Wondery that the first season of American Sports Story is based on.

IndieWire first broke the news that Rivera would star as Hernandez. Producer Nina Jacobson told IndieWire that Rivera, who starred in the West Side Story remake and the upcoming Hunger Games prequel movie, rose “to the top” during the casting process. “We had him all tatted out. He was trained to be huge and muscular; he loved lifting weights,” Jacobson said.

Per Variety, Patrick Schwarzenegger will play former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who was friends with Hernandez. This is a bit of a full-circle moment, given that Schwarzenegger made his TV debut elsewhere in the Murphyverse (specifically, a 2015 episode of Scream Queens). Meanwhile, Deadline reports that All Rise star Lindsay Mendez will take on the part of Tanya Singleton, a cousin of Hernandez’s who was accused of helping him flee and who refused to testify in his trial. Per Deadline, Tammy Blanchard will take on a series regular role as Hernandez’s mother, Terri Hernandez. The full cast reportedly also includes Jaylen Barron, Jake Cannavale, Catfish Jean, and Tony Yazbeck.

…in the sense that the scripts were written by The Americans writer Stu Zicherman, at least. Zicherman will executive produce alongside Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Brad Falchuk. The Boston Globe’s Linda Pizutti Henry and Ira Napoliello also joined Wondery’s Hernan Lopez and Marshall Lewy as executive producers.

In January 2023, Deadline reported that FX chairman John Landgraf said that American Sports Story had “fairly complete” scripts and was “heading toward production.” Principal photography began in April 2023, but production later paused due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. The strike ended in November 2023, but it remains unclear if and when shooting resumed.

American Love Story is set to explore romances that captivated the country, starting with a first season dedicated to JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette. We wonder if we’ll ever get an American Love Story / American Sports Story crossover? There’s a certain NFL player and pop star pairing that might work…

Everything We Know About American Sports Story