The last of MSG Networks’ winter sports teams played its final game on Friday when the Islanders were swept out of the playoffs by the Hurricanes.
But come Monday, the network was ready for the latest in a long line of ideas to make the best of its thin late-spring and summer programming months.
It is called “The MSG 150” – an homage to its popular 150-second wrap-up segments and a description of the show’s 2 ½-hour running time.
(Actually, it runs two hours, plus a best-of half hour, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.)
The idea is to leverage important upcoming events involving the networks’ stable of teams into a discussion-and-interview program worth watching.
“We’re excited about this because of what seemed to be an exciting summer,” executive producer Jeff Filippi said. “This seemed like a logical thing to do.”
Some of that excitement is a byproduct of a lack of success this past winter.
So the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday and the draft itself in June will be of great interest to Knicks fans, and will mark two of the times “The MSG 150” will be seen live rather than being taped in late afternoon.
Same goes for the NHL Draft, in which the Devils and Rangers have the first two picks.
The show’s focus will be on the four local teams whose games it carries, as well as the Giants, with whom it has a partnership, plus Garden events such as the June 1 boxing match featuring heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s American debut.
But talk about other matters, such as the NBA and NHL playoffs, baseball and golf, also is fair game.
On Monday’s premiere episode, Joshua and Knicks coach David Fizdale visited in-studio, and Islanders analyst Butch Goring appeared via a video connection from his home.
Bill Pidto is the host, along with Alan Hahn most days and a cast of other voices that includes John Wallace, Swin Cash, Wally Szczerbiak, Monica McNutt, Julianne Vianni, Camron Smith and Fernando Perez.
Pidto said the goal is to create a casual, freewheeling vibe.
“The hardest thing to do when you’re on TV is to act like you’re not on TV,” he said. “The way TV goes in the studio you kind of can tell they’re on TV. Hopefully we can be natural enough so it doesn’t seem like we’re on TV.”
The cast dressed casually on Monday, a sign of the mood it is after.
The current plan is for 39 shows over 10 weeks. If viewers like what they see, might it be possible to extend the franchise into the busier winter sports season?
“We have absolutely no plans at all,” Filippi said, “but there are certainly off nights during the winter . . . Really, where we are now is we’re doing these 10 weeks and we’ll see how it goes.”