Eszterhas, who also wrote the New York Times best-selling book American Rhapsody in 2000, is perhaps best known for the movies Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge and Flashdance. He is also the author of Charlie Simpson's Apocalypse, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1975. It will be the first movie project for the renowned screenwriter since being diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago.

"Joe is a passionate sports fan and ESPN is honored to bring him back to the table," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. "Considering his credentials, this affiliation is a tremendous testament to the progression of ESPN's Original Entertainment initiatives."

Said Eszterhas: "I've had to change my lifestyle radically during my two year struggle. I don't smoke or drink, I walk five miles a day, and I'm on a nearly vegetarian diet. In some ways, my great lifelong love of sports has gotten me through this period and when ESPN came to me with this idea, I immediately saw it as part of my recovery. It's a great human drama of the elements, strength and will."

The Ice Bowl will be executive produced by Orly Adelson of Orly Adelson Productions (The Truth About Jane, Love, Honor and Betrayal). Adelson also served as executive producer of ESPN's critically acclaimed TV-movie, The Junction Boys (2002).

ESPN Original Entertainment continues to develop a wide-variety of branded programming to add to the network's comprehensive event and sports news coverage. Using a collection of vehicles - original movies, reality-based shows, scripted dramas, documentaries, game shows and more - ESPN's goal is to broaden its audience by more strongly appealing to younger and casual sports fans.

Some of the successful titles under the EOE umbrella are Pardon the Interruption; The Season; Beg, Borrow & Deal; as well as ESPN's first movie projects: A Season on the Brink (March 2002) starring Brian Dennehy as coach Bobby Knight, and The Junction Boys with Tom Berenger as coach Bear Bryant (December 2002).