Ross Greenburg to Produce NBC Sports Group Docs, Costas Tonight, NHL Original Content
NBC Sports Group has added yet another heavy hitter to its quickly expanding stable of original content and sports rights, signing former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg to produce documentaries for the new NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel and NBC, as well as produce the recently-announced Costas Tonight featuring Bob Costas. In addition, the NHL, which signed a 10-year, $2 billion rights deal with NBC Sports Group in April, has tapped Greenburg to spearhead the newly-launched NHL Original Productions, which was also announced today.
The 51-time Emmy Award winning producer, who founded Ross Greenburg Productions earlier this year after a 33-year career at HBO, previously collaborated with Costas at HBO to produce On the Record and CostasNOW. The two will now be reunited for Costas Tonight, a new monthly interview program and live Town Hall series that will debut on NBC Sports Network (branded VERSUS until Jan. 2) in spring 2012.
“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,” says Greenburg. “I am also very excited to be reunited with Bob Costas, and to showcase his extraordinary skills as a broadcaster and journalist.”
NBC Sports Group Networks to Feature Greenburg Docs
Greenburg’s first documentary for the NBC Sports Group, Cold War on Ice: Summit Series ’72, will debut on NBC Sports Network on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 (4:30 p.m. ET), 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.
“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.”
Taking the Lead at NHL Original Productions
In a separate announcement, the NHL revealed that Greenburg will also produce content for NHL Original Productions, which is tasked with creating original, long- and short-form hockey programming for NBC Sports and the League’s media assets, beginning later this season.
“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 COO John Collins said. “As we continue to grow our business, NHL Original Productions will enable our Content Group and our Clubs and rightsholders to benefit from Ross’s unparalleled talent and experience to present our sport in new ways.”
Greenburg and the NHL also collaborated to produce two critically-acclaimed programs on HBO: Broad Street Bullies and the Emmy Award-winning 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.
“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. “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.”
Greenburg, Costas Reunite for Costas Tonight
Announced yesterday, Costas Tonight is a monthly series featuring Costas, 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.
“[Greenburg’s]award-winning collaborative relationship with Bob made the decision to retain Ross to oversee production of Costas Tonight a natural,” says Lazarus.
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.
A Network and a Producer on the Rise
The addition of Greenburg follows a flurry of high-profile moves by NBC Sports Group since it was formed in early 2011 following Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. In addition to the 10-year NHL deal, NBC Sports Group dished out more than $4 billion for the 2014-2020 Olympics and signed a three-year deal with MLS in the past six months.
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 Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Hard Knocks, the 24/7 franchise, and dozens of award-winning documentaries.
Greenburg will deliver a keynote speech at the Sports Video Group’s Sports Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles on Jan. 25. Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more information in the coming weeks.