‘All American’: The Real Spencer Opened Up About Fan Reactions to the Show: ‘My DMs Are in Shambles’

The CW series All American follows Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), a rising football star who dreams of playing professionally for the NFL. The sports drama is loosely based on the life of former NFL player Spencer Paysinger. Although the show has entered its fourth season, Paysinger is amazed at the popularity of All American. The retired football athlete shared his DMs are always “in shambles” because of the fan reactions to the series.

Daniel Ezra and Spencer Paysinger attending the Paley Center For Media's 2018 PaleyFest Fall TV Previews.
Daniel Ezra and Spencer Paysinger | Araya Diaz/WireImage

‘All American’ became a breakout hit on Netflix

Even though the sports drama is not a Netflix original series, it still made a massive impact on audiences. Every time a new season premiered on the platform, the series managed to top the Netflix Top 10 List. In July 2021, Nielsen’s U.S. streaming rankings reported All American claimed the No. 1 spot, beating Netflix’s own Outer Banks. With all three seasons streaming on the platform, The CW series amassed 1.433 billion minutes viewed during the week of Jul. 26, 2021, topping Outer Banks’ 1.423 billion minutes. 

Spencer Paysinger says his ‘DM’s are in shambles’ from the show’s popularity


‘All American’: Is The CW Show Based on a True Story?

The CW series is loosely based on the life of former NFL player Spencer Paysinger. In an exclusive interview with PIX 11 News, Paysinger talked about the sports drama and its success on television. While he is grateful for the show’s widespread success, he is “still adjusting” to the reception of All American.

“I’m still adjusting to the fanfare, [and] the theories. My DMs are in shambles,” he explained. Paysinger jokingly admitted that he receives several messages from fans asking who his wife is in real life. In the series, Spencer James had a love triangle with Layla (Greta Onieogou) and her best friend Olivia (Samantha Logan).

Although Paysinger’s life inspired the show, certain events have been altered for television. When asked about the process, Paysinger shared that he maintains communication with the writers. 

“It’s a tremendous trust process,” he said. “With our showrunner, Nkechi Okoro Carroll, I talk to her a lot and give them [a bunch] of stories from my past that I trust for them and mold it into the stories you see.”

Paysinger continued, “Initially, when [the writers] were taking those stories and changing them, I was like ‘Wait, that’s not exactly how it happened.’ But, it’s all about having that creative license to make a compelling show.” 

What’s next for the former NFL player?

Aside from being the consulting producer on All American, Spencer Paysinger wants to venture into other projects. According to Deadline, Paysinger’s will executive produce the HBO film centered around the Bishop Sycamore high school football scandal. Additionally, the untitled project follows Bishop Sycamore Centurions and the validity of the school. In the end, Coach Roy Johnson was fired, and Gov. Mike DeWine called for an investigation. Later, the investigators uncovered that the high school never existed. 

The HBO project will debut on the network in 2022.