via press release:
HBO’S REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY AS TELEVISION’S
GOLD STANDARD OF SPORTS JOURNALISM
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL kicks off the celebration of its 20th anniversary season with an all-new edition TUESDAY, JAN. 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, marking the 214th show in its history.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 26 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2012, earning a prestigious George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence and has been honored twice with duPont Awards from Columbia University, first in 2005 and again in 2012.
“The mission of REAL SPORTS always has been to find and tell the best stories out there, wherever they may be found, and that’s never going to change,” says senior producer Joe Perskie. “But this is an exciting time for us because we’re trying to evolve, even as we stay true to our roots – with a new look, a few new faces, and some other new plans on the horizon.”
In addition to Gumbel, who hosts the program and also reports from the field, the monthly show features an award-winning cast of veteran correspondents, including Mary Carillo, Frank Deford, Bernard Goldberg, Andrea Kremer and Jon Frankel. REAL SPORTS added Soledad O’Brien in 2013 and David Scott and Carl Quintanilla in 2014.
Previous REAL SPORTS investigations have included: fraud in the autographed memorabilia business; International Olympic Committee corruption; gambling on college campuses; Andro use among high school athletes; offshore and internet gambling; ticket brokers; stadium financing; the surge in racism at European soccer events; country club discrimination; kidnapping and forced labor of youngsters working as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates; steroid use in pro sports; match fixing at European soccer events; revenue streams for major college bowl games; escalation of hazing incidents among historically black university marching bands; the role of Ultra soccer fans in Egypt’s turbulent revolution; widespread use of the painkiller Toradol in NFL locker rooms; questionable academic performance by student-athletes at major NCAA schools; disturbing elite dog breeding practices; parental rage at youth sporting events; the marketing of guns to America’s youth; and the science that potentially links the domestic violence crisis in the National Football League with head trauma injuries suffered by players during their careers.
Revealing and intimate profiles are a signature staple of REAL SPORTS. Among the most memorable have been stories on: Mark Cuban, Denny McLain, Donald Trump, Danica Patrick, Vijay Singh, Andre Agassi, Randy Moss, Venus Williams, Michelle Wie, Lolo Jones, Josh Hamilton, Gary Sheffield, Donovan McNabb, Pacman Jones, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Phil Jackson, Ozzie Guillen, Bill Parcells, Troy Aikman, Pete Carroll, Jon Gruden, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Plaxico Burress, Urban Meyer and Mike Tyson.
Many of the most inspiring reports on REAL SPORTS have been touching human interest stories that underscore the remarkable resiliency and spirit of individuals determined to overcome extraordinary setbacks, such as segments on: New England marathoners Dick and Rick Hoyt; the Miracle League youth baseball program; college athletes Rayna DuBose, Marc Buoniconti, Mallory Code and Kyle Maynard; Haitian soccer innovator Bobby Duval; pro golfers Erik Compton and Ken Green; and race car driver Alex Zanardi. The show also reported on pro boxer Boyd Melson’s determination to raise money to help cure spinal cord injuries, and long before Super Bowl XLVII, REAL SPORTS produced a poignant profile of the Harbaugh football family in summer 2011.
Recognizing that non-traditional sports properties are gaining appeal with younger consumers, REAL SPORTS identified trailblazers to profile, including skateboarding entrepreneur Rob Dyrdek, wingsuiter Jeb Corliss, daredevil Nik Wallenda and surfing legend Kelly Slater, as well as exploring the death-defying world of back country skiing and the dangerous Isle of Man motorcycle race. In addition, the show examined Red Bull’s marketing of extreme sports, the booming daily fantasy sports industry and the fast-growing video gaming phenomenon eSports.
REAL SPORTS has been recognized for its landmark reporting on the long-term effects of concussions in sports. The show’s initial report from correspondent Bernard Goldberg in 2007 won a Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports Journalism, and a congressional committee later played clips from that segment in a Capitol Hill hearing.
The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.