The Madison Square Garden Network has bought six sports documentaries produced by ESPN for scheduling in the biweekly movie showcase “MSG at the Movies.”
The movies are part of a strategy spearheaded by Lydia Murphy-Stephans, executive VP of programming and production for MSG Media, to find more primetime programming to complement the sports events that make up the bulk of MSG’s schedule.
This programming includes the “MSG Concert Series,” “MSG Originals” and the network’s daily sports/entertainment show “MSG, NY.”
The ESPN docus, which all have some connection to the Gotham sports scene, are:
- “Rhythm in the Rope,” about the impact of jump rope on poor kids in the inner city, climaxing with the 2004 Double Dutch Holiday Classic event at N.Y.’s Apollo Theater;
- “Hellfighters: A Season in Harlem,” zeroing in on the high school kids who make up the roster of the Harlem Hellfighters football team;
- “Through the Fire,” a profile of Coney Island basketball star Sebastian Telfair during his final championship year in high school;
- “Once in a Lifetime,” dealing with the rise of the New York Cosmos pro soccer team in 1977 and its legendary star, Pele;
- “The Zen of Bobby V,” which follows former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine during a season coaching one of Japan’s best baseball teams;
- “A Woman Among Boys,” focusing on the basketball genius of Ruth Lovelace, who coached the boys team at Boys & Girls High School in Brooklyn to 13 straight playoff appearances.
MSG started the movie showcase earlier this year with a mix of scripted theatricals including “All the Right Moves,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight” and “Miracle on Ice” and docus such as “Kings of the Ring.”