'Gospel of Kentucky Basketball' to debut March 17 on truTV
Turner Sports will debut an all-new documentary based on the storied legacy of Kentucky men’s basketball program -- Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball. Featuring interviews and first-hand reflections from some of the program’s most notable personalities, including former UK players Pat Riley, Jamal Mashburn, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, coaches Joe B. Hall and John Calipari, UK alumna and zealous fan Ashley Judd and many others, the documentary provides a chronology of the Wildcats’ history from its origins through the 2012 NCAA championship team.
Produced by Mandalay Sports Media and presented on truTV by Infiniti, the documentary is narrated by Grammy Award-winning artist Drake and will air on Selection Sunday -- 8 p.m. ET March 17 -- in advance of Turner Sports’ and CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, which airs exclusively on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.
Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball delves into the fabled past of the program’s first coach and the inspired tradition he cultivated; the historical relevance and implications of the 1966 NCAA championship game against Texas Western College’s all-black starting five; the emergence of Joe B. Hall and his 1975 Wildcats team that upset the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA tournament that year; as well as other highs and lows of the program.
The hour-long presentation on truTV also includes interviews with, and first-hand accounts from, a variety of players, coaches, opponents and others associated with the Kentucky Wildcats’ program, such as former UK players Kenny “Sky” Walker and Derek Anderson, two-time All-American Cliff Hagan, and Willie Worsley, a member of Texas Western College's 1966 championship team.
Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball is the second feature in a series of documentaries focused on collegiate basketball programs from Turner Sports. The division’s first feature -- Duke 91 & 92: Back to Back -- debuted last year in advance of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
“We are excited to add premier original content to our Turner Sports networks and are proudly looking forward to March and our newest documentary, Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball, on truTV,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president of strategy/marketing/programming, Turner Sports. “The story of Kentucky basketball fits in line with our ambition to continue developing stories that will captivate our viewers."
Bluegrass Kingdom: The Gospel of Kentucky Basketball is produced and directed by Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning film and television writer/director Michael Tolajian, whose most recent credits include Once Brothers, the critically-acclaimed documentary from ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series. Executive producers include Mike Tollin (The Bronx is Burning, Smallville, Arli$$) and Jon Weinbach (The Other Dream Team, Straight Outta LA) of Mandalay Sports Media.
"After doing research for this documentary, I quickly realized that the University of Kentucky is perhaps the most storied college basketball program in history,” Tolajian said. “But it wasn't until we started filming in Kentucky, that I truly learned how important Wildcat Basketball is to the state -- it's like a religion. Our goal was to capture some of that passion in this film ... and I feel we succeeded."
• Duke 91 & 92: Back to Back