ESPN has named Marsha Cooke vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films. Cooke will also work on the company’s legendary 30 for 30 sports documentary unit.
“Marsha’s extensive production experience, creative mind and global perspective make her a tremendous asset to our team,” ESPN Films and original content senior vp Brian Lockhart said in a statement. “As we prepare for a dramatic expansion of our storytelling scope, her strategic thinking and leadership will help guide this ambitious next phase of the 30 for 30 brand. We are delighted to welcome her to ESPN.”
Cooke added in a separate statement: “ESPN creates groundbreaking stories for both sports fans and non-sports fans. Quite simply, it’s essential viewing and I’m thrilled to be joining this esteemed organization.”
ESPN has made clear in recent months that it is placing a greater focus on films and documentaries, with its most notable offering being The Last Dance, a limited docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. The network also debuted Once Upon A Time In Queens, a multi-part documentaries focused on the 1986 New York Mets, over the summer, and is about to launch Man in the Arena, about iconic NFL quarterback Tom Brady. In addition to linear, the company is also adding more films on its subscription-based streaming service, ESPN+.
Cooke was most recently senior vp of global news and special projects at Vice, and previously spent 24 years at CBS News, beginning in 1993.
Cooke had stints in CBS’s Los Angeles, Tokyo and Beijing bureaus and at CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. She also headed up CBS’ affiliate news service Newspath, beginning in June 2016 until she left for Vice at the end of 2017.