NEW YORK -- HBO Sports, NFL Films and the New York Jets team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets debuts.
The first sports-based reality series -- and one of the fastest-turnaround reality series -- kicks off its five-episode sixth season, presented in HD, on Wednesday (10-11 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes debut subsequent Wednesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale, with regular encore plays on Thursdays.
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"We are delighted that Hard Knocks will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on charismatic Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his engaging team of proven veterans and emerging stars," says Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. "As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies alike during training camp. After last year's postseason run, this is certainly a championship-caliber team with big-name talent. Get ready for some of coach Ryan's 'blunt force trauma' behind the scenes with this staff and this talent."
"Hard Knocks has successfully traveled the country over the last several years," says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. "There have been shows in Dallas, Baltimore, Kansas City and Cincinnati. Now we've got our act together -- we're finally ready to open on Broadway!"
The cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the dynamic New York Jets, who compete in the ultra-competitive AFC East, prepare for the 2010 NFL season. Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets will chronicle second-year head coach Ryan and an intriguing mix of high-profile veterans, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the preseason. Each week, players will experience drills, meetings and fun, while struggling to prove they have what it takes to make the team and make their mark in the NFL.
"We are committed to being an organization that is open and accessible," said New York Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson. "Hard Knocks serves as a tremendous vehicle for fans everywhere to receive unprecedented access and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look as we prepare for the 2010 season. HBO and NFL Films have an award-winning track record and we are excited about working with them."
A 24-person NFL Films crew will live at the Jets' training camp, shooting more than 1,000 hours of video over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will be 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 returned to the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy for production excellence. In 2009 Hard Knocks spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals franchise.
GQ magazine wrote that Hard Knocks was reason No. 18 of 73 reasons why "we're living in a new golden age of football," adding that "'Hard Knocks' might be the second-best thing on television." Esquire observed, "There's a brilliant late-summer reality TV treat on HBO."
HBO and NFL Films recently received four Sports Emmy nominations for last season's Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, including Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology, Outstanding Camera Work, Outstanding Editing and Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound. The winners will be announced April 26.