The Bengals and the braintrust of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series “Hard Knocks” met with media Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium in preparation of the team’s second appearance on the show. The Bengals were the subject of the show in 2009. That five-part series won two Sports Emmy Awards, part of the total of eight Emmys the series has captured in its eight seasons.
The Bengals got their Emmy Award from HBO on Thursday.
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This year’s series will follow the Bengals as they go through training camp at PBS trying to put behind them a second straight first-round playoff loss at Houston. It’s a different scenario from 2009 when the team was training at Georgetown College in Kentucky and trying to rebound from a disastrous 4-11-1 season in 2008. Carson Palmer was the quarterback, coming off of an elbow injury the previous season. Wide receiver Chad Johnson introduced “Child please” to everyone’s vernacular. The country was introduced to fullback Chris Pressley and his story as he fought for a roster spot.
Pressley will be back this season, again fighting for a roster spot. This time it will be at the team’s PBS complex and he’ll be doing so against another former “Hard Knocks” favorite in John Conner, who gained attention in 2010 as a member of the New York Jets.
A crew of 30 from NFL Films will produce the show. A total of 1,500 hours of footage is expected to be shot over the course of the series. Crew members are given full access to the team, including its meetings and background stories to better bring to fans a sense of what players, coaches and franchise officials go through to get ready for the regular season.
The Bengals will travel to Atlanta prior to the opening preseason game against the Falcons on Aug. 8 for joint practices. That was one of the final obstacles to overcome before the Bengals were able to finalize the deal to do the show.
“Yeah, Smitty (Atlanta head coach Mike Smith) and I have talked quite a bit about it,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, getting a good chuckle. “It was my last out that they would put the kibosh on it and I guess their response is they’re going to make a cameo. But yeah, Smitty and I talked about it quite a bit and the same concerns. He knows what the parameters are and he’ll have an opportunity to meet with the people down there and so forth. Obviously this is a unique thing.”
The first episode is schedule to debut on Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), with subsequent episodes running every Tuesday at the same time. Encore presentations will air on Wednesday nights. The final episode will debut on Sept. 3, five days before the Bengals open the regular season at Chicago.