NEW YORK, April 3, 2017 – HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films announced today that they have reached agreement on a long-term extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise, with this year’s five-episode season to begin Tuesday, Aug. 8.
The first sports reality series, HARD KNOCKS debuted in summer 2001, becoming the most acclaimed sports reality franchise on TV and earning recognition for 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 hardcore NFL fans and casual viewers. To date, 11 editions of the Sports Emmy-winning series have been presented, and interest in the franchise continues to grow.
“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to thrive as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “The partnership between HBO, the NFL and its teams, along with NFL Films, has consistently produced unrivaled and groundbreaking television programming. We are thrilled that HBO will remain the series’ home.”
“HBO is really the perfect home for HARD KNOCKS, and we couldn’t be happier to continue our partnership with them around this award-winning franchise,” says Ross Ketover, NFL Films Senior Executive. “HARD KNOCKS prides itself on inside access and production excellence, and those are two qualities that both HBO Sports and NFL Films try to focus on in all of our programming.”
No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS, which has produced 57 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 11 seasons. Winner of 14 Sports Emmy Awards to date, the show received four more nominations last week, for 2016’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams.”
HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and the return of the Rams to Los Angeles in 2016.
Six of the last seven teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. Teams who earned playoff berths immediately following their appearance on HARD KNOCKS include the Bengals (2009, 2013), Jets (2010) and Houston Texans (2015).
The Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.”
New York’s Daily News termed the show “the gold standard of sports reality programming,” while ESPN wrote, “The return of the NFL season also means the return of one of the best shows on television, ‘Hard Knocks.’ This [is a] rare look at how any given moment can be the end of a season or even a career.”
Winner of 123 Sports Emmy Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which comprises NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon and NFL RedZone.