PENN STATE ‘HARD KNOCKS’? HBO COM­ING TO HAPPY VAL­LEY

Franklin sees chance to get na­tional ex­po­sure for his pro­gram on HBO show

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Wo­gen­rich

HBO is bring­ing its “Hard Knocks” sto­ry­telling for­mat to col­lege foot­ball, and Penn State will be part of it.

Penn State is one of the schools fea­tured in the up­com­ing 24/7 COL­LEGE FOOT­BALL se­ries on HBO. The be­hind-the-scenes look at the Nit­tany Lions will air Oct. 9 and fol­low the team’s prepa­ra­tion for its Oct. 5 home­com­ing game against Pur­due.

Ari­zona State, Florida and Wash­ing­ton State also will be fea­tured in in­stall­ments of the four-episode se­ries. Liev Schreiber, the voice of HBO’s pop­u­lar “Hard Knocks” doc­u­men­tary se­ries that fol­lows NFL teams dur­ing the pre­sea­son, will nar­rate the episodes, which be­gin Sept. 28 at Florida.

Penn State coach James Franklin said the pro­gram has had dis­cus­sions about such a ven­ture for three years. Cam­eras back­stage shouldn’t be an is­sue, Franklin said, be­cause play­ers and coaches used to hav­ing in-house crews around for the ‘Un­ri­valed’ TV show and so­cial-me­dia con­tent, Franklin said.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s an op­por­tu­nity to get our pro­gram out there on a na­tional scale and al­low peo­ple to maybe see be­hind the cur­tain a lit­tle bit,” Franklin said told re­porters in State Col­lege af­ter prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

HBO’s 24/7 se­ries, which launched in 2007, has chron­i­cled sport­ing events from box­ing to hockey to golf. The se­ries won 18 Sports Emmy Awards in its first seven sea­sons.

“For many years, we have been en­am­ored with the sto­ry­lines and

un­ri­valed tra­di­tions of col­lege foot­ball, and we’re ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand the 24/7 fran­chise into the realm of col­lege sports,” Rick Bern­stein, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of HBO Sports, said in a state­ment. View­ers will feel the tremen­dous elec­tric­ity of some of the best at­mos­pheres in the coun­try, and see the metic­u­lous prepa­ra­tion and chal­lenges fac­ing th­ese pro­grams in the build-up to game­day and dur­ing the game ac­tion.”

HBO said that it will em­bed cam­era crews in each pro­gram for a week “to give view­ers a re­veal­ing and timely look at what goes on be­hind the scenes at some of the most in­ter­est­ing pro­grams in col­lege foot­ball.”

Penn State par­tic­i­pated in a sim­i­lar ven­ture in 2013 when then-coach Bill O’Brien al­lowed an ESPN crew into his pro­gram for a doc­u­men­tary about the team.

HBO also aired the movie “Paterno” in 2018 about the fi­nal days of Joe Paterno’s coach­ing ca­reer at Penn State.

BARRY REEGER/AP

James Franklin sees “Hard Knocks” as “an op­por­tu­nity to get our pro­gram out there on a na­tional scale and al­low peo­ple to maybe see be­hind the cur­tain.”

BARRY REEGER/AP

Penn State fans cheer in the third quar­ter of the Nit­tany Lions’ vic­tory over Buf­falo on Sept. 7.

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