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'World Series of Poker' setting for series

ESPN will debut its next scripted ESPN Original Entertainment series, "Tilt," set in Las Vegas.

The dramatic series will air on Thursday nights beginning Jan. 13 (9 ET), with one-hour shows that will explore the drama of high-stakes gambling, as well as the action away from the table where greed and revenge fuel conflict, power plays and deal making.

"The launch of our next drama underscores ESPN's commitment to scripted entertainment," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president for programming and production. "Capitalizing on the incredible popularity of the 'World Series of Poker' and 'Playmakers', 'Tilt' promises to put the audience at the table and into the lives of the characters."

Brian Koppelman and David Levien wrote and will direct the pilot episode and will also serve as executive producers and write a number of the episodes. Koppelman and Levien wrote the screenplay for "Runaway Jury," last year's adaptation of the John Grisham novel starring Gene Hackman, John Cusack and Dustin Hoffman, and wrote "Rounders," the 1998 film which starred Matt Damon and Edward Norton and also focused on poker.

Koppelman and Levien also wrote and directed "Knockaround Guys," which starred Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper.

"Tilt" will take place in Las Vegas in the days leading up to a major poker tournament. The viewer will get an inside look at this sometimes glamorous and sometimes dangerous world through the eyes of the players. In addition to the competition in cards, the central characters will battle for control, money and fame.

ESPN Original Entertainment was created in January 2001 to develop a wide-variety of branded programming to supplement the network's traditional event and sports news coverage. EOE will present "Hustle," a movie based on the life of Pete Rose with Tom Sizemore in the starring role, on Sept. 25. On Dec. 11, "3" will focus on the life of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt.