Walt Disney Co.s' ESPN sports cable channel, expanding into movie-making, started a division to produce feature films, Bloomberg News reports.

ESPN, the most-watched television sports network, said today it hired Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency, to develop projects. The agency, which represents more than 350 athletes, will help ESPN expand beyond the films and documentaries it has made for television.

The film unit, which will also make TV movies, will work with Walt Disney Studios when developing, producing and distributing sports-themed scripted projects, Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN said in a statement. Where Disney isn't involved, CAA will assist ESPN in finding separate financing and distribution.

``Sports is such a natural crucible for character change, a very important component of a film, that it's a natural fit,'' Ron Semaio, senior vice president of original entertainment at ESPN, said in an interview. ``The only thing we're looking for is a good story that can be well told.''

ESPN started expanding into films with ``Through the Fire,'' about high school basketball star Sebastian Telfair. The documentary was shown in eight theaters on Feb. 10, 2006, and garnered $14,769 in ticket sales, according to Internet Movie Database Inc.'s IMDb.com site.

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