Summer's here and the time is right for -- MSG Network's block party programming.
The regional sports network, tapping the various assets of parent Madison Square Garden Co.'s three business units, is serving up seven nights of themed programming under the "Summer Block Party" banner, beginning on Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.
Filling in the gap provided by the absence of baseball programming from its lineup, MSG Network will showcase a pair of new originals Who Wore It Best? and 10 to One, anchoring its respective Monday and Tuesday night lineups. There will be boxing and basketball fare on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while supermodel Kate Upton and Fuse TV personality Allison Hagendorf will host a new schedule of concerts and music fare on Fridays. Actor Luis Guzman will host sports-related theatricals on Saturdays and Sundays.
As part of its "Classic Mondays," MSGN will unveil Who Wore It Best?, an examination of New York's most iconic uniform numbers from every sport to determine which athlete represented the digit(s) best. Hosted by Sirius XM radio personality Dino Costa, the show's panelists include: New York Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins; former athletes John Franco, Anthony Mason and Carl Banks; MSG broadcasters Walt ‘Clyde' Frazier and Al Trautwig; actors Nick Turturro and Vincent Pastore; comedians Jim Florentine, Jim Norton, Sherrod Small and Gary Gulman; writers Bert Sugar, Bill Scheft and Will Leitch; former MTV host Ed Lover; and radio personalities Evan Roberts and Scott Ferrall. The series bows on May 30.
Classic Mondays will also feature new episodes from the Emmy Award-winning MSG Vault. Gleaned from a library containing some 90,000 tapes, the show looks as memorable moments from "the world's most famous arena," including such new installments as 1991-92 Rangers: A Cup is Born.
New episodes of Game 365 and Halls of Fame, featuring Fran Healy interviews with top sports figures, bow in June.
The following night, May 31, MSGN tips off "Countdown Tuesdays." The night will be home 10 To One will begin listing the greatest athletes, past and present, who call(ed) Madison Square Garden home. Hosted by Brittany Umar, the 30-minute program will feature Knicks and Rangers players in categories such as greatest goalies, top scorers, greatest dunkers and top playoff performers, interspersed by footage from MSGN's vast archives.
A fast-paced show, MSG Countdown examines the top 25 moments in various categories from Knicks, Rangers, Devils and Islanders games. All-new episodes include: Fights, Brawls & Melees Part 2, Rangers Most Memorable Moments (2010-11), Most Memorable Rangers-Islanders Moments, Knicks Greatest Moments (2010-11), Greatest Playoff Moments and Most Memorable Game Calls.
The RSN will also serve up truncated versions of classic Knicks, Rangers, Devils and Islanders contests in Countdown in 60. The hour-long versions put the spotlight on the No. 1 moment from the preceding MSG Countdown.
"Boxing Wednesdays" are for pugilistic aficionados. MSG's Fight Night Classics showcase boxing matches in the building spanning the decades from the 1930s through the 1980s, including Rocky Marciano vs. Joe Louis in 1951 and the Floyd Patterson vs. George Chuvalo match-up which was dubbed Ring Magazine's 1965 "Fight of the Year." Each bout includes commentary from current and former boxers, trainers, referees, boxing historians and journalists.
Under the Golden Gloves banner, MSGN will present six new bouts from MSG, with a number of bouts with fighters looking for wins to propel them to 2012 Olympic qualifications. In Battle of the Badges, the best of the NYPD and FDNY will meet inside the square in eight different weight classes. The boxing rivalry between New York's Finest and Bravest circles back to 1982.
MSGN In the Ring with John Duddy displays eight of Irish boxing star's nine undefeated bouts at the world's most famous arena, including triumphs against Ramon "Yory Boy" Campas and Anthony Bonsante.
On Thursdays, MSGN is talking basketball. "Hoops Thursdays" will be home to EBC Basketball from Rucker Park, with coverage from the famed streetball tournament, which is sanctioned by the NBA and NCAA, extending from the renowned men's bracket to action in women's, tri-state high school and several youth divisions.
"Music Fridays powered by Fuse" should make MSGN an aural destination, where watchers will find documentaries like Neil Young: Heart of Gold, performances from MSG Entertainment-owned venues such as Fuse Presents: Drake Live from Radio City Music Hall, the best acts from Bonnaroo, emerging artists in New York via MSG's Indie NYC powered by Baeblemusic.
"Cinema Weekends," which began to unspool on May 28-29, features Guzman introducing and hosting an array of films, mostly from the sports realm, including Caddyshack, Rudy, Eight Men Out,The Champ, AKA Cassius Clay, Brian's Song, Bang the Drum Slowly, North Dallas 40 and Ruffian. Serpico and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 are also on tap.