HBO Sports and NFL Films are partnering with the Detroit Lions for an unfiltered look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League with “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Detroit Lions,” which debuts Aug. 9 on HBO and HBO Max, with additional hour-long episodes bowing subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 6 season finale.
This season marks the 17th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy-winning series. HBO has aired 82 episodes and one anniversary special in its first 16 seasons.
Camera crews will head to the Lions’ training camp in Allen Park, Mich., in the next few months to begin shooting more than 1,750 hours of footage over the course of the series. In August, the cinema verité show will focus on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches. The series, which will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, chronicles Lions head coach Dan Campbell entering his second season leading the team, which includes a mix of young emerging stars, established veterans and free agent additions.
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“As ‘Hard Knocks’ enters its third decade, we are both thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to feature a historic franchise like the Lions,” Ken Rodgers, NFL Films VP and senior coordinating producer, said in a statement. “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.”
The series 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 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 13 teams featured on the series 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.