Smithsonian Channel unveils “Sports Detectives”

U.S. cable network Smithsonian Channel has ordered the tentatively titled investigative docuseries Sports Detectives from New York-based producer Left/Right. (Pictured: Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris's 'Immaculate Reception')
July 14, 2015

U.S. cable net Smithsonian Channel has ordered the tentatively titled investigative docuseries Sports Detectivesfrom New York-based producer Left/Right.

Scheduled to air in 2016, the 6 x 60-minute series attempts to unearth the truth behind some of the most iconic objects in American sports that are either missing or in dispute. Each episode will highlight interviews with the players, managers, announcers and fans at the center of each respective mystery.

The series – currently in production – is to feature sports analysis and real-life detective work by Kevin Barrows, former FBI special agent and security consultant with the NHL, and CBS Sports Network reporter Lauren Gardner.

Sports Detectives will touch on such items as Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic gold medal, which was allegedly thrown into the Ohio River by the fighter after a racist incident; the basketball from Wilt Chamberlain’s record-breaking 100-point game in 1962; and, finally, the missing football from Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris’ ‘Immaculate Reception’ in 1972 (pictured).

The series is based on Brian Biegel’s Miracle Ball book and documentary, which aimed to track down the whereabouts of the 1951 home run ball hit by Bobby Thomson in what was known as “the shot heard ’round the world.” Biegel also serves as an exec producer on the series.

Banks Tarver, Kenneth Druckerman and John Marks are to serve as executive producers for Left/Right while David Royle and Charles Poe will exec produce for Smithsonian Channel. Brian Biegel and Robert Harris are also executive producers.

“Smithsonian Channel has revealed extraordinary stories behind historic artifacts, from the Hope Diamond to Thomas Jefferson’s secret Bible,” said Royle in a statement. “Now we’re turning our eye to the world of sports. The objects investigated in Sports Detectives are fascinating for fans and non-fans alike, and we expect many surprises along the way.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.