NBC Announces Full Details of Greenburg Partnership, Summit Series Doc

NEW YORK – November 10, 2011 – Fifty one-time Emmy Award-winning producer Ross Greenburg, one of sports-television’s preeminent storytellers, has been retained by the NBC Sports Group to produce sports documentaries for the new NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel and NBC. Greenburg, who founded Ross Greenburg Productions earlier this year after a 33-year career at HBO, will also reunite with Bob Costas to produce the previously announced Costas Tonight, a new monthly interview program and live Town Hall series. Greenburg and Costas previously collaborated at HBO to produce the critically acclaimed and award-winning programs On the Record and CostasNOW.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the NBC Sports Group family, and to develop compelling and entertaining programming with this great team of programmers and production personnel led by my friend and former colleague Mark Lazarus,” said Greenburg. “I am also very excited to be reunited with Bob Costas, and to showcase his extraordinary skills as a broadcaster and journalist.”

Greenburg’s first documentary for the NBC Sports Group, Cold War on Ice: Summit Series ’72, will have a prominent role in the launch of the NBC Sports Network as it debuts at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, the same day the channel is being re-branded from VERSUS. The documentary focuses on the hockey series played in 1972 between a team of Canadian NHL all-stars and the Soviet Union national team during the height of the Cold War.

“Ross is a master storyteller and a perfect fit to produce high-quality, relevant programming for all of our platforms, particularly NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel,” said Lazarus. “His award-winning collaborative relationship with Bob made the decision to retain Ross to oversee production of Costas Tonight a natural.”

“We are excited and fortunate to add someone of Ross’ caliber to our production team,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “His record speaks for itself as a producer of the highest quality content. Adding him to our group is invaluable.”

“Storytelling is a signature of NBC Sports and viewers came to expect a similar brand of quality storytelling under Ross’ leadership at HBO Sports,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf Channel. “The game of golf is filled with dramatic stories and we’re excited about the projects we have in development with Ross that will bring his unique storytelling skills to Golf Channel.”

Announced yesterday, Costas Tonight is a monthly series featuring Costas, one of America’s preeminent interviewers, conducting in-depth, revealing interviews with leading newsmakers in sports and entertainment. It will debut on Thursday nights in spring 2012 on the NBC Sports Network.

With NBC airing Super Bowl XLVI, the first episode in the Costas Tonight: Live from… town hall series will feature some of the NFL’s biggest stars and newsmakers focusing on the state of the NFL, plus a preview of Super Bowl XLVI and the storylines from the NFL season. Costas Tonight: Live from the Super Bowl will air on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012.

NHL, Greenburg Team Up For NHL Films

If you follow me on Twitter, it’s no secret: I’m very excited about this. Wyshynski reports that the first project for the new company will be a documentary on the ’72 Summit Series. This sounds like it’ll be fantastic:

NEW YORK (Nov. 10, 2011) – The National Hockey League today announced the creation of NHL ORIGINAL PRODUCTIONS, an initiative that will join forces with renowned executive producer Ross Greenburg, through Ross Greenburg Productions.

Greenburg, who has won 51 Sports Emmy awards for his pioneering work at HBO over three decades, will work with the NHL’s Content Group on NHL Original Productions initiatives.

NHL Original Productions will create original, long- and short-form hockey programming for NBC Sports and the League’s media assets, beginning later this season. The new venture reflects the partnership forged between the League and NBC over the past six years and reaffirmed by the 10-year media rights deal signed in April, 2011. The launch of NHL Original Productions is the latest collaboration between the NHL and Greenburg – an alliance that produced two critically-acclaimed programs on HBO: Broad Street Bullies and the Emmy Award-winning 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.

NHL Original Productions also will develop original content for use by the League’s media platforms (NHL Network and NHL.com) as well as national and regional rightsholders.

“Extending our programming and production capabilities through this relationship with Ross Greenburg will allow us to do more story-telling, bring fans further inside the game and promote our players through compelling content that our avid fans crave and new fans will embrace,” NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said. “As we continue to grow our business, NHL Original Productions will enable our Content Group, headed by Executive Vice President Charles Coplin, and our Clubs and rightsholders to benefit from Ross’s unparalleled talent and experience to present our sport in new ways.”

Among the projects on the drawing board for NHL Original Productions in 2011-12 are “Day in the Life” player documentaries revealing the regimens and personalities of NHL players appearing in NHL on NBC games. Plans also are being developed for documentaries and features to coincide with the lead up to the NHL’s Centennial Celebration in 2017. Greenburg also will work with independent producers and filmmakers to produce hockey films and other documentaries and reality-based series focused on the sport.

“Though I’ve long been a fan of the game, my passion for hockey — particularly the way it is played at its highest level in the NHL — was intensified by working on the Broad Street Bullies and 24/7 projects,” Greenburg said. “Hockey players compete in a sport that requires an unmatched combination of world-class skill and relentless toughness, all the while remaining the most approachable and genuine of professional athletes. I am thrilled to be able to tell their stories in exciting and innovative ways and delighted that I’ll be working so closely with the NHL for years to come.”

In his 33 years at HBO – beginning as a production assistant, as an award-winning executive producer and, for the last 11 years, as the president of HBO Sports – Greenburg was instrumental in the creation of several of the network’s signature shows and series. Those included the sports magazine series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the NFL training camp reality series Hard Knocks, and the 24/7 franchise which provides all-access build-ups to boxing matches and the NHL Winter Classic. The last project Greenburg supervised before leaving HBO in July was a documentary on New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits.

Tuesday Night Ducks/Caps Game, Blacked Out in DC, Down Slightly From Last Year

After low numbers last Monday with a game blacked out in a big media market, a similar situation produced a much larger audience on Tuesday night.

Last Tuesday’s Anaheim/Washington game drew 258,000 viewers. This was well ahead of the 169,000 drawn by San Jose/NY Rangers on Monday night. Neither game aired in the market of the home team, but did in the market of the road team. This was down 7% from the comparable year-ago match-up (275,000 for SJ/MIN, which aired in both markets). The NHL Live post-game drew 141,000 viewers, up a whopping 45% from the year-ago episode of Hockey Central (78,000).

Tuesday, November 1 numbers on VERSUS

6:00 NBC Sports Talk 18,000
NHL Live – 67,000
Anaheim vs. Washington – 258,000
NHL Live – 141,000
NHL Overtime – 50,000

(Source: Son of the Bronx)