Dupree’s ‘Piece of the Game’ goes national

Don Dupree

Don Dupree

A locally produced sports memorabilia show that began as a series of specials on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 has just landed a national distribution deal.

Chicago TV veteran Don Dupree, creator and executive producer of “A Piece of the Game,” announced this week that he’s signed a deal for his show to be available in 65 million households. Starting later this spring, it will air on Comcast SportsNet outlets in Chicago, Philadelphia, New England and the San Francisco Bay area and on Fox Sports regional networks throughout the rest of the country.

David Kaplan, the Comcast SportsNet Chicago and The Game 87.7 FM personality, hosts the show, which tells the story of historically significant sports treasures and invites fans to have their sports memorabilia appraised. Bill Kurtis serves as narrator.

The pilot for the show, which first aired on WGN in March 2013, won a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for outstanding achievement for sports programs. Two more installments aired later in the year.

Taping will resume April 27 at Murphy Bleachers, 3655 North Sheffield Avenue, where viewers may bring sports memorabilia to be appraised. (For information see apieceofthegame.tv.) Among items to be featured are a basketball from the 1936 Olympics, a personal letter written by Babe Ruth in the 1930s, and a tea set commemorating the New York Yankees’ 1962 World Series championship.

New shows will begin airing nationally in June.

Dupree, who worked with the late Roger Ebert for two decades as a director and producer of his movie-review shows, noted that he signed the distribution deal for “A Piece of the Game” close to the one-year anniversary of Ebert’s passing April 4.

“A week before Roger passed, he told me how excited he was about my show and said he wanted me to get it on the air,” Dupree recalled. “It’s very heartwarming to know that I was able to fulfill the promise I made to Roger. That feels really good.”