HBO Sports will skate into a third sport with its Emmy-winning 24/7 reality franchise.
The premium network will take viewers inside one of the National Hockey League's top rivalries, as the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals prepare for their outdoor game on New Year's Day in the Steel City.
Facing off on Dec. 15, Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic will span four episodes, centering on the club's Jan. 1 contest at Heiz Field, which will be broadcast on NBC.
HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg told Multichannel News in a recent interview that 24/7 would soon expand into new venues.
HBO first laced up its 24/7 franchise, which has garnered a dozen Sports Emmys, in 2007 with De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7, followed by seven additional boxing installments. Last January, HBO Sports extended 24/7t to the world of NASCAR, with Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona, chronicling the Sprint Cup champion's preparations for the 2010 version of "The Great American Race," the Daytona 500.
The HBO Sports presentation, tracking the ups and downs of the clubs' simultaneously, debuts in primetime Dec. 15 from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET/PT), trailed by an immediate encore in the ensuing hour. The teams, featuring the NHL's two biggest stars, the Penguins' Sid ‘The Kid" Crosby and the Capitals' Alex "The Great" Ovechkin, will meet on Dec. 23 matchup on Washington's home ice, leading into the third installment.
The series will also air Wednesday Dec. 22 and 29 and Jan. 5 in the same time slot, with encore. The series finale debuts four days after the Winter Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding the Capitals and Penguins on game day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand.
"Taking our reality series ‘24/7' into the world of the National Hockey League is a perfect fit," said Greenburg in announcing the series. "The 24/7 franchise is fashioned on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines, and unrestricted access. With Sidney Crosby leading the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin leading the Capitals, we have all the ingredients for a dynamic show that will take viewers deep inside professional hockey and set the stage for the Winter Classic."
Noted NHL COO John Collins: "Teaming up with the 12-time Emmy Award-winning and much acclaimed HBO ‘24/7' series gives us an incredible opportunity to bring our fans even deeper inside two model hockey organizations during the regular season as we lead into the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. In just three short years, the Winter Classic has become so well-established on the national sports calendar it's truly a New Year's Day tradition. Uniting HBO's amazing reality series with one of sport's greatest rivalries in an outdoor setting in front of 65,000 raucous fans will make this Winter Classic the most anticipated one yet."