10:00am PT by Rick Porter
HBO's 'Hard Knocks' to Feature L.A. Rams, Chargers
The 15th season of Hard Knocks will feature a first for the HBO docuseries.
The show, which HBO Sports makes in cooperation with NFL Films, will focus on two teams for the first time. Hard Knocks: Los Angeles will follow preseason preparations for both of L.A.'s NFL teams, the Rams and Chargers, as they prepare to move into SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The five-episode season is set to premiere Aug. 11.
HBO also announced Thursday that it's extending the franchise in a multiyear deal, though the exact number of seasons wasn't disclosed.
"The Hard Knocks franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series," said HBO Sports executive vp Peter Nelson. "Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience."
Added NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover, "NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the Hard Knocks franchise since 2001. To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two-team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football."
Camera crews are set to arrive in Southern California in the next few weeks to begin documenting the preseason for the Rams, under coach Sean McVay, and Chargers, coached by Anthony Lynn. Training camps are slated to open in late July — the NFL is hoping to proceed with its usual schedule amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
Both coaches say they're ready to welcome cameras into their lives.
"Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it," said Lynn. "There's a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you're going to do a show, do it right. You can't fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year's show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn't something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I'm glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer."
McVay said, "We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year. Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players' hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too. This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, [Rams owner] Stan Kroenke's vision for professional football in L.A."
Both teams held training camp in Orange County in 2019, but details about this season's preseason practices have yet to be finalized. Safety protocols and other issues are still being discussed between the league and players union.