By Teresa M. Walker (AP Sports Writer)
Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban has found a way to go beyond his more than 1.1 million followers on Twitter and 844,000 more on Instagram.
He’s hitting national television.
The 2013 Norris Trophy winner will host ”P.K. Subban’s All-Star Special” Friday night on NBC Sports Network airing immediately after the NHL All-Star Skills competition, and Subban is ready to have some fun.
”It allows me to have a platform to be able to talk about things that I care about,” Subban told The Associated Press on Thursday. ”It’s not all about me with the guests that we have coming on and I guess some of the promo that we give certain players and athletes and people that I’m involved with. I think it’s a benefit not only for me but for everybody involved.”
The hour-long special is part-talk show taped at the San Jose Improv with fans as the audience in San Jose, California. Subban’ guests will include Jay Leno, comedian and TV host W. Kamau Bell, country singer Lee Brice, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, Columbus defenseman Seth Jones and 13-year-old hockey player Ty Cornett.
The show also includes live comedy sketches by Subban along with segments featuring Subban at a jam session with Brice and a recent visit with his family in Toronto. Subban gave no hint of the topics that will be covered, saying only to tune in and watch.
”There’s definitely some things that I’m going to talk about in my monologue that I’m sure that people will get a good kick out of, and that’s the whole point of watching it,” Subban said. ”Hopefully enough people think enough about the show to tune in and see the interviews with the guests, the skits that we’ve done and the work that’s been put into the script.”
Television is nothing new for Subban. NBC Sport producer Sam Flood said they learned what a great communicator the defenseman is when Subban worked the final game of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
”He worked well with Mike Tirico, was involved in an interview with the commissioner, and it was fun to see,” Flood said.
That led to further talks between NBC Sports Group about how to showcase Subban without interfering with his top priority, the Nashville Predators. They announced the All-Star special and ”The P.K. Project” digital series earlier this month. The first episode of “The P.K. Project” just debuted giving viewers a look into his personal life.
”P.K. is doing a wonderful job working with our team to get some unique content and content that only could happen with his relationships and his personality,” Flood said.
The All-Star special and ”The P.K. Project” work around Subban’s schedule. Subban said players are at the rink for about three hours a day, leaving them with plenty of free time. Away from hockey, Subban said he has plenty of other interests keeping him busy including food, fashion and television.
”Just because the person next to me doesn’t think that they can host their own show doesn’t mean that I can’t,” Subban said.
To the 29-year-old defenseman who made his NHL debut in February 2010 with Montreal, what matters is finding what works for himself. Subban knows some people might criticize him spending time on something other than his Predators’ job, which pays him $9 million a year through the 2021-22 season.
”But some people do other things because it makes them better at their job,” Subban said.
Starting his own production company – PeeK Productions – is something Subban has wanted to do for a long time.
”Now to be able to own the content that I’m doing and develop it and have a team and put out meaningful content that you can see and own it was a priority for me and my team,” Subban said. ”I’m very excited about today and moving forward.”
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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NBC Sports Group will present P.K. Subban’s All-Star Special, Friday, January 25, at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following the conclusion of the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills.