Bristow Global Media announces NHL project

Three networks and a former HBO exec sign on for 'NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other'

Bristow Global Media has announced its first project, a TV series produced in association with the NHL that will follow more than two dozen of the league’s top stars as they participate in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic and the Sochi Olympics.

NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other will air on NBCSN and CBC Television beginning in mid-January, with rebroadcasts on Rogers Sportnset. The seven-part series will provide fans with behind-the-scenes access to NHL stars including the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and the Vancouver Canucks’ Sedin brothers.

Bristow said that a “director’s cut” of the program is also being prepared that will incorporate extra footage from the nearly 100 days of shooting, as well as language deemed inappropriate for primetime television (which, as we’ve seen in similar programs, can be hugely entertaining).

The series is a return to familiar territory for Bristow, who oversaw production of CBC Television’s Hockey Night in Canada and properties such as the reality series Battle of the Blades in her former role as executive director of studio and unscripted content with the public broadcaster.

“I’ve really focused on the opportunity in the sports space in terms of programming opportunities,” said Bristow. “Like a lot of people in television, I realized that live and event sports programs are really the only opportunities to deliver PVR-proof experiences out there.

“They’re really drawing a lot of viewers and engagement, and I think being able to be involved in a documentary sports series like this, which is tied to a series of live events, is a dream for a TV producer.”

Ross Greenburg, former president of HBO Sports who served as executive producer of the first iteration of 24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, is executive producing the series (along with Bristow).

While her company’s first project is with a sports league, Bristow said she plans to actively pursue partnerships with companies in traditional advertising sectors like CPG, automotive, et cetera.

“One of the things that has certainly provoked me to launch this business is the opportunity to look at different financing models for television,” she said. “As the commercial model shifts so dramatically from 30-second spots, and that money looks for other ways to be associated with quality content, you have to have great ideas.

“The opportunity to create excellent programming with brands that are forward-thinking and really understand the power of conventional and specialty and digital media, is definitely an area we’re going to be focused on.”

Bristow declined to divulge a price for the property, but did concede that its scope and the involvement of multiple rights-holders contributed to a premium price. “It’s a healthy budget for the kind of product you want to deliver in an access-driven documentary series,” she said.

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