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Harlem Globetrotters Return to TV

Craig Robinson hosts Harlem Globetrotters: Play It Forward
(Image credit: Hearst Media)

The Harlem Globetrotters return to broadcast TV in a partnership with Hearst Media Production Group (HMPG) on Harlem Globetrotters: Play it Forward. Craig Robinson hosts and the 30-minute weekly series debuts Saturday, October 1. It will be part of NBC’s “The More You Know” programming block. 

The educational/informational series will also be available on NBC.com and NBC on demand, with repeat airings on Telemundo. 

Robinson is best known for his roles in The Office, The Masked Dancer, The Cleveland Show and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 

“Many of us grew up watching and admiring the Globetrotters,” said Frank Biancuzzo, HMPG president. “They are magicians on the basketball court and true role models in the community.  We’ll bring that compassion, energy and excitement to the new weekly series.” 

Harlem Globetrotters: Play it Forward will showcase the players’ achievements both on and off the court as ambassadors of goodwill. Each episode will focus on inspirations and interests of many of the Globetrotters including space exploration, financial responsibility and literacy, urban farming, female empowerment and digital technology.

“The Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining fans and spreading goodwill around the world for almost 100 years,” said Keith Dawkins, president of Harlem Globetrotters & Herschend Entertainment Studios. “Our return to network television, via our partnership with Hearst Media Production Group and NBC, marks a critical step in the evolution of our brand and in realizing our desire to expand our reach with a new generation of fans.”

The Globetrotters were a television staple in the ‘70s, facing off against the hapless Washington Generals. There was also a Harlem Globetrotters animated show and a Gilligan’s Island TV movie where the team finds itself stuck on the island. 

The Globetrotters were founded in 1926 as the Chicago Globetrotters, becoming the Harlem Globetrotters in 1929. Standout players over the years include Fred “Curly” Neal, Meadowlark Lemon and Wilt Chamberlain. The current roster features male and female players from all over the country. ■ 

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.