|Created by||Paul Rivera|
|Starring||LeBron James, Maverick Carter|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||August 28, 2018 –|
The Shop is an American talk show television series created by Paul Rivera. It stars professional small forward LeBron James and businessman Maverick Carter, who alongside guests have conversations and debates in a barbershop. The series premiered on HBO in the United States on August 28, 2018.
Conception and development for Uninterrupted
In December 2014, James' longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter launched Uninterrupted (stylized as UNINTERRUPTED), initially utilized as a platform for athletes to give testimonials about their experiences. In its original form, Uninterrupted was created and produced by James' SpringHill Entertainment production company, run by Carter, and hosted on Turner Sports' Bleacher Report website. Athletes that made early contributions to Uninterrupted included Rob Gronkowski, Draymond Green, and Ronda Rousey. In December 2015, Warner Bros. and Turner Sports invested $15.8 million in the platform. By March 2017, Uninterrupted was described by Forbes as a digital media company.
James spoke on how The Shop became an idea saying, "when I was a kid, being in barbershops meant listening to adults talk about sports, clothing, politics, music, everything happened in the shop. It was so real and so candid — no one had a sense of, well I can't be myself here." Randy Mims and Paul Rivera, both business partners of James' and Carter's, first proposed The Shop.
In February 2016, during the NBA's All-Star Weekend, the first iteration of The Shop was filmed in a Toronto-based barbershop for the Uninterrupted website. The following year, again during NBA's All-Star Weekend, another episode of The Shop was filmed in a New Orleans-based barbershop. James and Carter were joined by Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green, Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz, Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams, former New York Knicks All-Star Charles Oakley, and businessman Steve Stoute. Stoute moderated the group's discussion, which notably generated James detailing how his mother did not want him to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014. The filming premiered on the Uninterrupted platform on June 9, 2017, coinciding with Game 4 of the NBA Finals between James' Cavaliers and Green's Warriors. The New Orleans episode was optioned by ESPN as a one-off.
Following the New Orleans episode, talks with HBO began in earnest. HBO then ordered a handful of episodes of The Shop, with the episode order being left vague due to James' primary focus on his basketball career. The deal with HBO did not include airing the Toronto or New Orleans episodes; the first episode for HBO was filmed in West Hollywood's Barber Surgeons Guild, in Los Angeles, in July 2018. The first episode guest starred rapper Snoop Dogg, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker, comedian Jon Stewart, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, and Green, alongside James and Carter. The episode premiered on HBO on August 28. Further episodes aired later throughout the year. The second episode was filmed in a Washington, D.C. hair salon, which houses a separate cuttery. The third episode was also filmed in Los Angeles.
|Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"Episode 1"||August 28, 2018|
LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and company speak about a wide-range of topics including race in America and fatherhood. |
Guests: Odell Beckham, Jr., Michael Bennett, Jerrod Carmichael, Snoop Dogg, Draymond Green, Alvin Kamara, Candace Parker, Vince Staples, and Jon Stewart.
|2||2||"Episode 2"||October 12, 2018|
|Guests: Mo Bamba, Elena Delle Donne, Drake, Victor Oladipo, and Ben Simmons.|
|3||3||"Episode 3"||December 21, 2018|
|Guests: Mary J. Blige, Chris Bosh, Ice Cube, Todd Gurley, Jimmy Kimmel, Nas, Lena Waithe.|
|4||1||"Episode 4"||March 1, 2019|
|Guests: Antonio Brown, Jerrod Carmichael, 2 Chainz, Anthony Davis, Jamie Foxx, and Meek Mill.|
Following the series' HBO premiere, Haley O'Shaughnessy of The Ringer wrote: "The setting creates a very personal facade, an opportunity to speak on fame and kids and race openly. The viewer is in on the conversation, but isn't in the conversation. Opinions on hot-topic issues that LeBron's addressed before aren’t delivered like a sermon, which are more likely to fall flat. He’s chatting with people he respects. And you feel like part of that group." O'Shaughnessy added that, "The Shop is another platform, but it isn't a pedestal. It's not a postgame press conference, where power dynamics are heavily skewed. It's an HBO show that attempts to keep a level playing field for everyone involved." Following the second episode, The Ringer's Micah Peters opined, "[The Shop is] really good TV––they sip wine, they offer a side of themselves rarely seen in public, and LeBron James says swear words. Even the color palette is spare and direct. This, like most barbershops, is a space reserved strictly for real talk." Rashad Grove of The Source wrote on the series' authenticity of the Black barbershop experience, "LeBron on The Shop is showing the world what really goes down at the Black barbershop. The conversations are raw and authentic over many glasses of wine."
Meredith Blake of the Los Angeles Times published a lukewarm review of the first episode, writing, "Though the effort to capture the vibrance and tell-it-like-it-is spirit of the African American barbershop met with slightly mixed results in the first episode, The Shop is more than worth a return visit," and adding "stylish black-and-white photographs of guests arriving at the shop serve as act breaks and enhance the show’s documentary feel. But the choppy editing sometimes removes context from the conversation, offering little sense of how one subject flows to the next."
Billy Haisley of Deadspin wrote a more critical review of The Shop's first episode, questioning its candidness. Haisley referred to other outlets' comments on the episode, writing," Amazing: Slate, the Washington Post, and HBO all agree that an edited, literally filtered TV program created, produced, and starring a world-famous athlete with a notoriously and meticulously maintained image is best described as 'unfiltered.' The Ringer and the Sporting News at least consulted a thesaurus before copying The Shop's press release language, writing, respectfully, that the episode was 'honest' and 'candid.'" Haisley added, "The point here isn't that the things LeBron and Co. say in The Shop are insincere or fake or anything of the sort [...] Rather, the point is that the things said in The Shop are calculated, risk-free, decidedly filtered, stated for the predominate purpose of bolstering LeBron's brand. It's to position LeBron as a bold truth-teller without him having to actually tell any bold truths. And it should be treated as such."
- Gundersen, Erik García (August 21, 2018). "LeBron James' show 'The Shop' to air on HBO Tuesday Aug. 28". LeBron Wire. USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Vardon, Joe (December 2, 2015). "LeBron James' Uninterrupted gets $15.8M investment from Warner Bros., Turner Sports". Cleveland.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Abbruzzese, Jason (December 3, 2015). "LeBron James's confessional video website for athletes gets investment from Turner and Warner Bros". Mashable. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Badenhausen, Kurt (March 9, 2017). "LeBron James' Uninterrupted Launches New Show With Athletes Talking About Their Money". Forbes. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Guthrie, Marisa (July 26, 2018). "HBO Picks Up LeBron James Barbershop-Set Talk Show (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Johnson, Derreck (June 9, 2017). "This Video of Draymond Green, LeBron James, and 2 Chainz Is the Barbershop Experience Personified". Ring Don't Lie. Slate. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Vardon, Joe (June 9, 2017). "LeBron James says his mother did not want him to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers". Cleveland.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Bella, Timothy (August 29, 2018). "LeBron talks about fatherhood, double standards and the n-word in HBO premiere". Morning Mix. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Caron, Emily (October 10, 2018). "Drake, Ben Simmons and Others Join LeBron James for Episode Two of 'The Shop' on HBO". The Crossover. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Heil, Emily (September 11, 2018). "LeBron James and Drake spotted after filming at a Washington hair salon". Reliable Source. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Gundersen, Erik García (December 12, 2018). "LeBron's 'The Shop' to return to HBO on Dec. 21". LeBron Wire. USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Curtis, Charles (February 21, 2019). "Anthony Davis will appear on LeBron's 'The Shop,' so everyone made tampering jokes". For the Win. USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Shapiro, Michael (February 21, 2019). "Anthony Davis, Antonio Brown to Appear on LeBron James' HBO Show 'The Shop'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- O'Shaughnessy, Haley (August 29, 2018). "LeBron James Finds His Voice on 'The Shop'". The Ringer. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Caron, Emily (December 21, 2018). "LeBron James Praises Adam Silver, Says NFL Owners Have 'Slave Mentality'". The Crossover. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Peters, Micah (October 13, 2018). "Drake Aired Out Kanye West to LeBron James on 'The Shop'". The Ringer. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Grove, Rashad (December 21, 2018). "Episode Three of 'The Shop' Will Feature Mary J. Blige, Chris Bosh, and More". The Source. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Blake, Meredith (August 29, 2018). "Review: With 'The Shop,' LeBron James brings frank talk of race, politics and fame to HBO". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Haisley, Billy (August 31, 2018). "There's Nothing Candid About LeBron's The Shop". Deadspin. Retrieved March 4, 2019.