As if moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles didn’t present enough of a challenge for the Rams, they’ve decided to chronicle the first-year transition back to L.A. while being the featured team on the HBO show Hard Knocks.
Here is the announcement the Rams just released:
With anticipation building as the NFL returns to Los Angeles for the first time in 22 years, HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Los Angeles Rams team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League on the new season of the league’s signature documentary TV program. Debuting this summer, HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE LOS ANGELES RAMS will be there every step of the way as NFL Films cameras follow the organization’s return to Southern California.
The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – kicks off its five-episode 11th season TUESDAY, AUG. 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes of the 12-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 6 season finale.
“We are thrilled that the 11th edition of HARD KNOCKS will spotlight a team from the NFC West Division for the first time,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to chronicle a franchise with so many compelling storylines, highlighted by the team’s return to the Los Angeles market and the enormously warm reception the Rams are experiencing. The series has become a summertime destination for TV viewers, and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 9.”
“From the moment it was announced the Rams would be returning to the Los Angeles market, this franchise felt like a natural for the next season of HARD KNOCKS,” says Ken Rodgers, coordinating producer, NFL Films. “We look forward to capturing the move to Southern California, training camp and everything in-between.”
Cameras are already rolling as HARD KNOCKS is set to document the Rams’ exciting homecoming. In August, the cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Los Angeles Rams, who compete in the powerhouse NFC West division, conduct the franchise’s first training camp in Southern California since the team’s 1946-1994 tenure there. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE LOS ANGELES RAMS will chronicle fifth-year head coach Jeff Fisher and an intriguing mix of Pro Bowl veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the preseason schedule.
Each week, players will experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and leave their mark on the NFL.
“The Rams are proud to partner with NFL Films and HBO Sports to document the Rams’ return to Los Angeles and the preparations for our upcoming season,” says Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ COO. “HARD KNOCKS will give fans an in-depth look into our young team and provide us a unique opportunity to tell the story of this historic season.”
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at the Rams’ training camp at team headquarters in Southern California, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.
“This is an exciting time for our franchise,” says Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. “HARD KNOCKS will be an outstanding way to bring our fans into our training camp and preseason, and give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of our players, coaches and staff as we prepare for the 2016 season.”
No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS, which has produced 52 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first ten seasons. The five-part 2015 series on the Houston Texans registered the second-highest viewership level for the show since 2002. Houston, which went on to win the AFC South championship, averaged 4.4 million viewers per episode, a 20% increase from 2014.
Winner of 12 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) and Houston Texans (2015).
The last six teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. Teams who have recently 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 it “the gold standard of sports reality programming,” while espnW 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 121 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.
NFL content has never been more popular across the media landscape. According to the Nielsen Company, 199 million people tuned into the 2015 NFL regular season, representing 78% of all television homes and 67% of potential viewers in the U.S. NFL games accounted for the top 25 – and 46 of the top 50 – most-watched TV shows among all programming in 2015.
HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE LOS ANGELES RAMS will be narrated by Liev Schreiber.
Incidentally, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was asked about the possibility of being on Hard Knocks today at the NFL League meetings in Boca Raton Florida and said he’d welcome it. Fisher also indicated the feedback he’s gotten from teams that have done it in the past is, after the first few days of filming any distractions dissipate.