HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS TEAM UP TO PRESENT A
SPECIAL EDITION OF THE ULTIMATE SPORTS REALITY SERIES WHEN
HARD KNOCKS: A DECADE OF NFL TRAINING CAMPS
DEBUTS WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
Ten years after the debut of the groundbreaking HBO Sports and NFL Films collaboration on the first-ever sports reality program, one of sports television’s most enduring partnerships teams up for an all-new special when HARD KNOCKS: A DECADE OF NFL TRAINING CAMPS debuts WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31 (10:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
One of the fastest-turnaround reality programs on television, the cinema-verité series debuted Aug. 1, 2001 when NFL Films and HBO Sports began chronicling rookies and free agents trying to make an NFL roster as determined veterans fought to keep their jobs at the camp of the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. An instant sensation, the show captured the heat, the hurt, the camaraderie and the humor of an NFL training camp.
In addition to revisiting memorable moments of the teams – Baltimore, Dallas (twice), Kansas City, Cincinnati and New York Jets – that have been featured on the seven-time Emmy®-winning series, the special includes new interviews with HARD KNOCKS veterans like Brian Billick, Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco and Rex Ryan, never-before-seen outtakes and a “Where Are They Now?” segment with updates on players from past episodes. Liev Schreiber narrates.
“We know football fans are hungry for compelling NFL programming and we think they’ll love this HARD KNOCKS special, which will have a host of new wrinkles,” says Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports.
Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, says, “The first ten years of HARD KNOCKS have been the ultimate fly-on-the-wall NFL training camp experience. We look forward to taking a look back at those shows and reintroducing the fans to those characters who made the decade of HARD KNOCKS so memorable.”
Embedded in an NFL training camp, the 24-person NFL Films crew would typically shoot more than 1,000 hours of video over the course of each series. Each year, camera and sound crews were given unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, dormitories and practice fields.
HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. The series resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Sports Emmy®. In 2008, the series revisited the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy®. In 2009 HARD KNOCKS spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals and captured two more Sports Emmy® Awards, for Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology and Outstanding Post Produced Audio/Sound. In 2010 the show featured the New York Jets and attracted an average of 4.6 million viewers per episode, receiving three Sports Emmys®, including Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology.
Sports Illustrated.com said HARD KNOCKS is the “most entertaining reality show on TV,” while the St. Petersburg Times observed, “HARD KNOCKS is fascinating television,” and the Wall St. Journal noted that the show “looks great and it sounds great, too.”