ESPN Cues Up Season Six

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The sixth season comprises four new audio documentaries. The first episode will debut on Tuesday, November 12, with the others premiering every Tuesday through December 3. The documentaries tell a range of stories about kidnappings, scandal, and devastating natural disasters, and span the globe from Moscow to Montana, Chile to New Orleans.

Listen to the trailer HERE.

Season Six Episode Breakdown:

“The Spy Who Signed Me” (reported by Keith Romer) – Debuts November 12
For Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, life in the WNBA paled in comparison to the lavish treatment they received in Russian professional basketball, courtesy of their team owner and benefactor, Shabtai Kalmanovich. Kalmanovich spoiled his stars, showering them with expensive gifts, luxury hotels, and private concerts, but he was a man with a complicated past. Taurasi and Bird had long heard stories about his history as a KGB spy and links to organized crime, but Kalmanovich’s murder in 2009 forced them to reckon with the complicated legacy of the man they had come to love.

“The Fall of the Condor” (reported by 30 for 30’s Jody Avirgan) – Debuts November 19
In the 1980s, soccer and nationalism were closely linked throughout South America, and in Chile in particular, anything that could give the team an edge was condoned. The feeling was that the team needed to be “mas bandidos que los bandidos” (“more bandits than the bandits”) to win their matches. During qualifying for the 1990 World Cup, Chile’s national team, led by its captain and star goalie Roberto “El Condor” Rojas, was taken by a kind of “madness” that it could beat powerhouse Brazil. The matches between Chile and Brazil were full of fights, brutal play, and out of control fans. In the culminating moment, Rojas was seemingly hit and injured by a flare shot by a Brazilian fan. It was only after photographs of the incident were released did the truth come out — but by that point El Condor and his teammates had already pushed their madness over the brink.

“Out Of The Woods” (reported by ESPN’s Bonnie Ford) – Debuts November 26
Kari Swenson was on an afternoon trail run in the mountains near Big Sky, Montana, in July 1984 when two men blocked her path and forever altered the trajectory of her life. Her rigorous training in the sport of biathlon – a hybrid of cross-country skiing and target shooting – helped her survive the next 18 hours, as she was kidnapped, shot through the chest and left bleeding in the forest near the body of a volunteer rescuer who they killed. The aftermath tested Kari in a different way. She made a comeback to competition while wrestling with post-traumatic stress and massive media coverage that often romanticized her captors. Thirty-five years later, Kari grants a rare interview to take charge of her own story of resilience and recovery, and offers a glimpse of what has sustained her over the long haul.

“Cursed and Blessed” (hosted by Tarriona “Tank” Ball of New Orleans band Tank and The Bangas) – Debuts December 3
According to local legend, the Superdome was always a haunted place, built atop the abandoned Girod Street Cemetery, and from its beginning in 1975 there was trouble. First plagued by construction problems, then years of bad luck for the host Saints team –– by 2005 those Saints were prepared to abandon the stadium in favor of a dreaded move to San Antonio. Then Hurricane Katrina hit, and the iconic stadium became the scene for real and invented horror stories for the displaced New Orleanians who sheltered there. In a surprising turn, a decision to save the stadium turned it into a potent symbol of the rebirth of the city, a rebirth buoyed by a suddenly very good Saints team that would go on to win the Superbowl just a few years after their return to New Orleans in 2006.

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