Hard Knocks

NFL Films, HBO Extend Deal to Produce Hard Knocks

HBO Sports and NFL Films announced today that iot has reached a long-term extension to continue to produce the NFL training camp Hard Knocks series.

Here is the release from the two entities:

NEW YORK, July 18, 2013 — HBO Sports and NFL FILMS announced today that they have reached agreement on a long-term extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise.  The first-ever sports reality series is set to return to HBO next month with an all-new, five-episode edition featuring the Cincinnati Bengals franchise.  The series premieres Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

When HARD KNOCKS debuted in the summer of 2001, it was television’s first sports reality series.  In the ensuing decade, the series became the most-acclaimed sports reality franchise on television, earning national recognition for its innovative production techniques, unscripted drama and unmatched storytelling.  The series redefined the terms “all-access” and “fastest turnaround time,” as the HBO Sports/NFL FILMS presentation captured the imagination of both the hardcore NFL fan and the casual sports and entertainment viewer.

Seven editions of the eight-time Emmy®-Award-winning series have been presented and interest in the franchise continues to grow.

“We are thrilled to have HBO continue as the home of Hard Knocks, the preeminent sports reality series,” said Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports.  “The partnership between HBO and NFL FILMS continually produces unrivaled and groundbreaking television programming.”

“We are excited to continue teaming with HBO on HARD KNOCKS to bring our fans closer to the game in unrivaled ways,” said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting. “Since its debut 12 seasons ago, NFL FILMS has developed HARD KNOCKS into an integral part of the NFL preseason and we look forward to kicking off the next iteration of this acclaimed program with the Cincinnati Bengals in August.

The most recent edition, last summer’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins” received the Sports Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.  The HARD KNOCKS franchise has won eight Sports Emmy® Awards since its debut.


Miami Dolphins to be the Spotlight of the 2012 Edition of Hard Knocks

HBO Sports has announced that the Miami Dolphins will serve as the team for the network’s 2012 production of Hard Knocks.  The seven episode Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins will begin debut Tuesday, August 7th at 10:00p.m. ET.

“We are delighted that HARD KNOCKS will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on the Miami Dolphins, a venerable franchise that had an exciting off-season activity,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports in a press release. “This marks the first time that the series has featured a first-year head coach (Joe Philbin) and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Philbin and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies.”

“On the 40th anniversary of the greatest season in NFL history–Don Shula’s perfect ’72 Dolphins– it is perfectly fitting that Hard Knocks is heading to Miami to capture the start of a new era for one of the league’s proudest teams,” says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “After Hard Knocks’ hiatus last summer, I know our team at NFL Films can’t wait to get back on the field.”

“We are excited that the premier company in sports filmmaking history, NFL FILMS, and HBO Sports have chosen the Miami Dolphins to appear on their award-winning series Hard Knocks,” said Joe Philbin, head coach of the Miami Dolphins.   “We are looking forward to connecting with our many fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2012 training camp.  The series will highlight the outstanding men who comprise our team and represent our organization admirably, both on and off the field, as they compete for a coveted position on our roster.”

The Hard Knocks series originated in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens.  It returned in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs and continued in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys, 2009 with the Cincinnati Bengals, and 2010 with the New York Jets.  Hard Knocks was not produced last season as the end of the lockout prevented HBO from organizing filming of the series.

Hard Knocks and reality

Watching the first episode of this year’s GooseHard Knocks — which, like just about everything HBO does, was extremely well-produced — I was reminded of conversations I had with The Sun‘s Ravens reporters about the initial year of the series, set at Ravens training camp. They said many Ravens very much played to the cameras, acting in ways that could be quite different from their normal demeanors. In particular, one veteran — who usually was at best indifferent and otherwise disdainful when it came to rookies — acted far more concerned about a first-year player than he did in previous camps without HBO’s presence.

That’s not saying any of the Bengals are “acting.” But I’m just sayin’.