Harlem Globetrotters returns to TV for the first time in 40 years

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – July 3: Bounce Moody scores a slam-dunk during the Harlem Globetrotters Spread Game Tour at Qudos Bank Arena on July 3, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Nathan Hopkins / Getty Images)

Nathan Hopkins | Getty Images Sport | beautiful pictures

Harlem Globetrotters will return to network television for the first time in more than 40 years.

The world-renowned exhibition basketball team known for its spectacular tackles and humorous antics will appear on the weekly show “Harlem Globetrotters: Play it Forward” on NBC.

The show, which premieres October 1, will be hosted by “The Office”‘s Craig Robinson. It will showcase players’ talents and their connections to the local community, including volunteering and fundraising initiatives. Globetrotters have also previously been involved in efforts such as the anti-bullying campaigns TEAM Up and Hoops for the Troops.

“Many of us grew up watching and admiring the Globetrotters,” said Frank Biancuzzo, president of Hearst Media Production Group, which collaborated with the show’s production team. “They’re magicians on the basketball court and a real role model in the community. We’re bringing that compassion, energy and excitement into the new weekly series.”

Each episode will focus on the team members’ inspirations and interests, including space exploration with NASA, financial responsibility and literacy, urban farming, and women’s empowerment.

Keith Dawkins, president of the Harlem Globetrotters, said the return to television is one way for the Harlem Globetrotters to expand their reach to a new generation of fans.

Craig Robinson will host “Harlem Globetrotters: Play it Forward,” a new 30-minute weekly show that airs on NBC.

Hearst . Media Production Team

Previously, the Harlem Globetrotters appeared in a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera and CBS, featuring animated versions of basketball team players. The show aired from 1970 to 1971 and followed a weekly formula in which the team would travel to try and help solve local problems through a basketball game.

Normally, the opposing team would do something to stop the contest, but the Globetrotters would figure out how to even out the odds and win the game. The recipe was repeated for “The Super Globetrotters,” a 1979 Hanna-Barbera animated series that aired on NBC.

The group also appeared on a Saturday morning live variety show in the 1970s called “The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine,” showcasing the characters’ skills through comedy skits and educational segments.

The new 30-minute show will be live-action and air Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on NBC’s “The More You Know” programming block.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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