Steve and Nefra Johnson of the Johnson Media Group are executive producers of “True Pioneers,” a new non-fiction series about unsung African American sports heroes for Fox Sports Net, beginning a five-week shoot May 30.
The series is slated to premiere in August with an hour-long special, followed by 13 weekly half-hour episodes.
Steve Johnson is a former sports agent, and former operations manager for the Chicago International Film Festival. He directed the basketball documentary “King of the Street,” which Nefra Johnson, then Nefra Burlock, hosted.
The Johnsons are also approaching the Black Family Channel about additional broadcast opportunities.
Principal photography starts in Chicago, with additional interviews across the country.
Episodes will follow groundbreakers in basketball, baseball, football, gymnastics, golf, hockey, swimming, skating, track and field and billiards, as well as refereeing and sports administration.
“Who are the African-American athletes that broke color barriers in sports other than the big three of basketball, baseball and football?” Steve Johnson said.
“Many of them ventured into unknown or unclaimed territory, always finding an opposition which fought mightily to maintain exclusive policies, to break the color barrier by bursting through the doors of athletic segregation, blazing a trail wide and enduring enough for the African American athletes that would follow.”