8:44am PT by Marisa Guthrie
Soledad O'Brien Inks HBO Deal, Joins 'Real Sports'
Soledad O’Brien has inked an overall content development deal with HBO and also will join the network’s award-winning sports journalism program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The deal lets HBO have first look at scripted projects and long-form programming concepts developed by O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group.
O'Brien's first piece is about an innovative regimen at a San Diego fight club that helps veterans combat mental illness and PTSD. It will air on the June 25 edition of Real Sports.
“Soledad is a perfect fit for Real Sports,” HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said in a statement announcing the deal. “She’s an extraordinary interviewer and storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be able to add her to a franchise where the emphasis is on finding and presenting thought-provoking stories in the diverse and ever-fascinating world of sports.”
Added Gumbel: “Soledad’s a respected journalist with a proven track record. Her credibility, broad interests and passion make her a wonderful addition to our program. I’m thrilled to have her on our Real Sports team.”
O’Brien left CNN earlier this year after incoming CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker set about revamping the network’s ill-fated morning show, which O’Brien had been hosting. At CNN, she was responsible for the Black in America and Latino in America franchises. A graduate of Harvard University, she will serve as a visiting fellow for the 2013-14 school year at the university’s Graduate School of Education.