From HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo comes a story of fame, greed, wild excess and self-destruction in the upcoming documentary presentation WILD CARD: THE DOWNFALL OF A RADIO LOUDMOUTH charting the rise and fall of prominent New York sports radio personality Craig Carton. Through a series of candid and intimate first-person interviews with Carton, the film reveals how the radio host’s secret insatiable gambling addiction, financed by an illicit ticket-broking business, brought his career to a sudden halt when he was arrested by FBI agents and charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud on September 6, 2017. Directed and produced by Martin Dunn & Marie McGovern of StreetSmartVideo, the film debuts WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
The film will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.
“Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”
“Craig gave us unprecedented access to his world as it was crumbling around him,” says Marie McGovern. “We see Craig in real-time as he weathers public scrutiny and endures private pain. The emotion is real and raw.”
“Craig is a fascinating and complex character,” says Martin Dunn. “He knows that people either love or hate his on-air persona. But as his close friends and former colleagues reveal, there are many more facets to his life.”
From Carton’s glamorous Tribeca apartment and multi-million dollar New Jersey mansion to a top bunk in a crowded prison camp barracks; from interviewing sports stars and celebrities to befriending mobsters and criminals; from organizing celebrity softball games at Yankee Stadium to playing for the Lewisburg Yankees, one of the prison camp’s softball teams; from earning millions to waiting for $100 payments to drop into his commissary account, WILD CARD: THE DOWNFALL OF A RADIO LOUDMOUTH details – in Carton’s own words – the sudden demise of one of the most popular and irreverent radio personalities in the country, whose secret gambling life transformed him from a star into a prisoner.
Carton talks openly about his upbringing in New Rochelle, New York, detailing the childhood trauma he never truly dealt with. He discusses his rise to fame in talk radio that turned him into a star in every market he worked in, culminating back home in New York where he was hired to helm the coveted “drive-time” morning show in the wake of the downfall of Don Imus. Paired with former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason, Carton’s love-him-or-loathe him approach supercharged the ratings and spring boarded him into a household name in the Big Apple and across the country.
On the morning of September 6, 2017, FBI agents arrested the “Boomer & Carton” co-host at his New York City apartment and the shocking news became front page headlines across the region. Following an emotional trial, Carton was convicted and on April 5, 2019 was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison on fraud charges. The 51-year-old reported to prison that June.
In addition to speaking with Carton, the film includes revealing interviews with many of those who were closest to him, including his former co-host Boomer Esiason, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Boomer & Carton crew of Al Dukes, Jerry Recco and Eddie Scozzare, WFAN boss Mark Chernoff and several of the journalists who covered his downfall.
Dunn, an award-winning print journalist, and McGovern, a former city desk editor for the New York Daily News, executive produced the recent documentary “Seaver,” a poignant portrait of the life of Tom Seaver, one of the most brilliant and enigmatic pitchers in baseball history.
About HBO Sports
Over the past three decades, HBO Sports has earned a reputation as one of sports television’s most prolific storytellers. From compelling documentaries to unscripted series and reality programming to magazine-style studio shows, HBO Sports has been a trailblazer. The department has earned 11 prestigious George F. Peabody Awards for production excellence in long-form programming and introduced a host of innovations and enhancements to increase subscriber satisfaction. Since 1991, HBO Sports has also earned 138 Sports Emmy® Awards and has been recognized with four duPont-Columbia University awards for excellence in broadcast journalism. The 2019 Sports Emmy® Awards saw HBO win its eighth trophy for “Outstanding Long Sports Documentary” with the groundbreaking presentation “Momentum Generation.”
Founded by print journalists in 2011, StreetSmartVideo specializes in developing news-based projects in the genres of sports, crime and entertainment. Martin Dunn is former Editor-in-Chief of newspapers in the UK and America, leading the New York Daily News to two Pulitzer Awards during his tenure. Marie McGovern, who was an assignment editor for the New York Daily News, created and executive produced the premium cable series, 3AM.