HBO Picks Up Boxing Docuseries from Peter Berg

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The cinéma-vérité series about trainer Freddie Roach is set to bow in early 2012.

HBO Sports has picked up the Peter Berg-produced docuseries about famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach.The premium cable net has ordered six episodes of On Freddie Roach, with an eye toward an early 2012 bow.
Berg (Friday Night Lights) will direct and produce the series along with Jim Lampley, Sarah Aubrey and Michael Price. It is a co-production of Berg’s Film 44 and Atticus Entertainment.

“We are truly excited about this innovative new reality series that will allow HBO to partner with Peter Berg,” Michael Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, said in a statement. “Freddie Roach is an extraordinary person and many of our subscribers are familiar with his superior work in training some of the world’s premier fighters.”  

The cinéma-vérité series is set at Roach’s Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood where he has trained famous fighters including Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Amir Khanand, Floyd Mayweather Jr., as well as celebrities such as Mickey Rourke.

“HBO’s enthusiasm in supporting a less conventional, verité style of storytelling is why they continue to create original and truly innovative programming,” added Berg. 

Roach grew up in the ring. His father Paul Roach was a trainer who introduced his three sons – including Pepper and Joey – to the sweet science. They were known as The Fighting Roach Brothers. Freddie Roach turned pro in1978 and was trained by the legendary Eddie Futch. He retired in 1987 after showing signs of Parkinson’s disease. Roach is no stranger to HBO; he’s been seen in the corner for some of the network’s World Championship Boxing series. And his career and battle with Parkinson’s was recently chronicled on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

The Roach project was originally in development at AMC where it was eyed as the net’s foray into reality programming. But it was not a fit creatively for the network, which instead picked up series about the Department of Homeland Security and real Madison Ave. ad men.