HBO Sports and NFL Films are partnering with the Detroit Lions for an unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League with HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS. The five-episode season debuts Tuesday, August 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) with additional hour-long episodes debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the September 6 season finale. The first sports-based reality series, and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.
HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS will mark the 17th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series and the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television. HBO has aired 82 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 16 seasons.
“We are excited about the opportunity to showcase the City of Detroit and the amazing culture we are building at the Lions,” said Detroit Lions Team President and CEO, Rod Wood. “HBO Sports and NFL Films are the best of the best and we know they will be excellent partners in sharing our story with football fans around the world.”
Camera crews will head to the Lions' training camp in Allen Park, Michigan in the next few months to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinema verité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS will chronicle head coach Dan Campbell entering his second season leading the team and an intriguing mix of young emerging stars, established veterans, free agent additions and highly regarded rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the preseason. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 16th season with the show.
“As Hard Knocks enters its third decade inside NFL training camps, we are both thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to feature a historic franchise like the Lions,” said NFL Films Vice President and Senior Coordinating Producer, Ken Rodgers. “The city, the culture and the coaching staff in Detroit all have an exciting energy that will make the show must-watch television this summer.”
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at Lions' training camp in Allen Park, shooting more than 1,750 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to players' and coaches' meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.
Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, 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 Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed 2018 series with the Cleveland Browns earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. The 2019 series spotlighted the Oakland Raiders as they played their final season in the Bay area before moving the franchise to Las Vegas. In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series spotlighted both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams. Last year featured “America's Team”, the Dallas Cowboys, marking their third appearance on the series.
Eleven of the last thirteen teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization on HBO and went from a winless 2017 season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign. The 2019 season saw the Raiders improve their record to 7-9 from the previous year's 4-12 mark. Both Los Angeles' teams, Rams and Chargers, improved their records in 2020 with two more wins from the previous year; with the Rams making the playoffs. Last year the Cowboys won their division going 12-5 from the previous year's 6-10 mark.
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.” NFL.com stated, “There are myriad reasons why HARD KNOCKS remains one of the best shows on television; it's ability to show us the human side of cutdown weekend is near the top,” while USA Today wrote, “Players' lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It's that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”
Winner of 133 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 is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.