Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: In Play with Jimmy Roberts

In Play is a Pretty Good NBC Newsmagazine with a Loose Golf Twist
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You gotta give NBC Sports a hand for successfully trying to take a tight concept - a cable network about golf - and make it remotely interesting to the 98% of the world's population (guessing) who don't give a hoot about waking up at 4am to drive around in a gas-less pretend-car to hit a ball around a grassy field.

Still, somehow they've done that at least once with the increasingly addictive talk show Feherty. And they may have done it again with In Play with Jimmy Roberts, a predictably solid newsmagazine from NBC that has the look, feel and quality of NBC's own Rock Center with Brian Williams.

In Play covers familiar territory, and pretty well, like tonight: a possibly wrongly imprisoned man, celebrity memorabilia collection, depression. But In Play also keeps its focus to varying degrees on golf - importantly, not so much so that non-golfers won't like it.

In tonight's In Play with Jimmy Roberts (Golf Channel, 10:30pm), Jimmy and correspondents, like on 30 Rock, take turns with three stories. Jimmy interviews an artist who paints golf courses from his death row cell.

There's a segment with golf legend Arnold Palmer who has a treasure trove of golf memorabilia he has collected over the years that's stored, improbably, in a nondescript storage unit just outside snowy Pittsburgh.

The most serious, newsmagazine-y story tonight, and the best of In Play's three segments, is about golfer Christina Kim's battle with depression. Like any good newsmagazine, In Play takes Christina's story from what golf fans know of her - on the golf course being loud and funny - to the real, darker, off-camera story of Christina literally standing on a ledge thinking about ending her life.

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