Ed O’Neill to Portray Disgraced Former Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling in FX Series ‘Clipped’

© 2024 FX Networks. All Rights Reserved. Cr: Kelsey McNeal/FX
(L-R) Jacki Weaver as Shelly Sterling, Ed O’Neill as Donald Sterling and Cleopatra Coleman as V. Stiviano in Clipped

Based on the hit ESPN 30 for 30 podcast The Sterling Affairs, the new FX limited series Clipped premieres June 4 on Hulu and dramatizes the 2014 Los Angeles Clippers scandal in which voice recordings between then-owner Donald Sterling and his mistress ignited a firestorm that would eventually get Sterling banned from the NBA for life.

Ed O’Neill is set to play Donald Sterling, with Jacki Weaver as Shelly Sterling, his wife and business partner of 60 years, Cleopatra Coleman as Sterling’s ambitious personal assistant and mistress, V. Stiviano, and Laurence Fishburne as Coach Doc Rivers.

Portraying characters based on people during a very publicized event had its challenges, which was discussed at a recent panel during the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

Asked if he found it difficult to find a point of relatability in the character of Don Sterling, O’Neill said, “You know, I don’t think about that. Basically, I responded to the script and Gina’s writing, and I found everything I needed in the script, in the story.  I knew about the scandal, I was in L.A.  when it happened. But I go one scene at a time.”

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: (L-R) Gina Welch, Ed O'Neill, and Cleopatra Coleman of FX's 'Clipped' pose for a portrait during the 2024 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on February 09, 2024 in Pasadena, California.

(Photo by Robby Klein/Getty Images)

(l-r) Executive producer Gina Welch, and stars Ed O’Neill and Cleopatra Coleman pose for a portrait while promoting Clipped at the 2024 TCA Winter Press Tour


There were some upsides to playing real people, too.

“It was largely in the script, but I also had the good fortune having the opportunity to meet Doc before I got to work,” Fishburne said of his role as Doc Rivers.

“When I got the first six scripts from Gina, her approach to both the racism and the sexism in the culture of the Clippers was absolutely respectful, it was honest, it was fearless,” Fishburne added, regarding the subject matter surrounding the scandal. “It’s very rare when you run across material where people are willing to deal with issues like racism and sexism in an honest and frank way. And these scripts really did that.”

image from the FX/Hulu series "Clipped." From left to right in this scene within an NBA locker room are Laurence Fishburne as Coach Doc Rivers, Ed O'Neill as LA Clippers owner Don Sterling and Jacki Weaver as Shelly Sterling

© 2024 FX Networks. All Rights Reserved. Cr: Kelsey McNeal/FX

Laurence Fishburne as Doc Rivers, with Ed O’Neill and Jacki Weaver as Donald and Shelly Sterling


“The Clippers are aware of the show,” added executive producer Ramona Shelburne.  “I don’t think they love that, you know, that they’re reliving all of this over and over again, but I think it’s an important story for not just the NBA, but the sports world, for Los Angeles, for our whole world.”

Whether or not you followed sports or the Clippers scandal ten years ago, the show is sure to be interesting either way.

The first two episodes of Clipped begin streaming on Hulu Tuesday, June 4, 2024. A new installment of the six-episode series will then be available on each following Tuesday.