NBA TV grabs ‘Shadow’

Net buys first scripted skein

NBA TV has bought reruns of Twentieth TV’s “The White Shadow,” with Ken Howard as a high-school basketball coach. It’s the first scripted-series buy for the network in its six-year history.

Episodes of “White Shadow” will get a showcase this week on NBA TV to celebrate the kickoff of the National Basketball Assn.’s 2005-06 season.

Simultaneous with its sale to NBA TV, the first season’s worth of 15 hourlong episodes of “White Shadow” will go out on DVD in a four-disc set for $39.98.

Joining “White Shadow” in the hoopla surrounding the opening week of the NBA season will be a free preview (Nov. 1-8) of both NBA TV and the multichannel “League Pass,” which offers a full lineup of out-of-market NBA games.

The original-programming highlight of the week is “Phil & Larry: The Maverick & the Purist,” a documentary that follows the careers of Phil Jackson, who has returned this season to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, and Larry Brown, who has signed a five-year deal to coach the New York Knicks.

Also, “NBA Fantasy Hoops,” the live studio show scheduled every night at 1 a.m., will permanently expand from a half-hour to an hour, with rebroadcasts the next day at 1 p.m. The host is Rick Kamla.

Steve Herbst, VP and general manager of NBA TV, said the network’s goal is “to offer more unique and different programming across the board, and that includes movies, documentaries and the occasional scripted series.”

NBA TV will draw on a massive library of NBA material to create documentaries and profiles, Herbst said, as a supplement to the 200-plus live games the network schedules every season, plus news and game highlights.

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