Much of the notable President’s Day weekend programming is airing live from New York, at a uniquely relevant time, with networks giving viewers on-air and online tastes of the city’s cultural diversity.
From Lincoln Center to Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (and back again), TV network and production teams are running all over town to cover the runways of Fashion Week, the show ring at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the NBA 2015 All Star Weekend and the 40th anniversary of cultural institution Saturday Night Live.
The most anticipated is Sunday’s three-and-a-half hour SNL40, NBC’s on-air birthday party for the show that made “Live from New York” an iconic phrase. Originally scheduled to last three hours, NBC said late Thursday the special would go an extra 30 minutes; the network then continued over the next few days to announce a growing A-list of returning cast members and favorite hosts who will join the show.
In addition to ample advance coverage on NBC’s local affiliates and national news programs, SNL40 has benefitted from buttress marketing; NBC released an SNL app on Thursday, while the Tribeca Film Festival announced it will open its 14th annual edition on April 15 with the SNL documentary Live From New York.
The live broadcast begins at 8 p.m. (ET) Sunday (Feb. 15) from Studio 8H at 30 Rock, following a 7 p.m. live red-carpet lead-in hosted by the Today team.
SNL40’s red carpet-worthy all-star line-up rivals the NBA’s All-Star roster, which hits the court 30 minutes later across the river and across the cable dial on TNT and TBS. The Turner networks are simulcasting the 64th NBA All-Star Game at 8:30 p.m., with Marv Alpert, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber calling the game from Barclays Center. That follows a live pre-game concert on TNT at 6 p.m. (ET) and the pre-game show at 7 p.m. (ET). TNT also has its own Saturday night live line-up tonight (Feb. 14) with NBA Tip-Off at 8 p.m. (ET) and All-Star Saturday Night at 9 p.m., both originating from New York.
ESPN and TNT got the live coverage of the NBA All-Star Weekend going on Friday night (Feb. 13), with the sports network’s 7 p.m. (ET) broadcast of the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game 2015 from MSG and TNT’s 9 p.m. broadcast of the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge from Barclays Center.
Back at Madison Square Garden, a wholly different kind of competition will unfold live on CNBC Monday night (Feb. 16). As the three-day weekend winds down, the evening portion of the 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show gets underway at 8 p.m. (ET) with Best of Breed judging of the hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups. Perennial voice of the show (this is his 26th year) David Frei and NBC Sports analyst Mary Carillo will co-host, with NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast reporting from the floor.
The same crew is back Tuesday night (Feb. 17), when USA has the live broadcast of the finale, including the sporting, working and terrier groups plus Best in Show. Meanwhile, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days, Westminster will livestream judging of all 192 breeds — taking place at Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River — on its website and via the 2015 Westminster Show App for Android and iOS devices.
FoxSports 1 is also going to the dogs. On Sunday at 12 p.m. (ET), it will air taped coverage of the championship round in Westminster’s 2nd Annual Masters Agility Championship, which takes place Saturday at Pier 94. The network’s Justin Kutcher and Jennifer Hale, along with dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and dog agility trainer and competitor Terry Simons, will call the event.
Meanwhile, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, E! Entertainment’s newly unified News & Digital unit is covering the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, where it kicked off its live coverage on Feb. 12 and will continue through Feb. 18. E! Online is livestreaming exclusive runway shows at its Fashion Week microsite and the nightly E! News is taping on-location under the tents at Lincoln Center. Additionally, Fashion Police will tape a special episode in New York to air Monday night at 9 p.m., and the network is producing an on-location Secrets of Fashion Week special to air next Thursday (Feb. 19) at 8 p.m.