Hard Knocks airs a behind-the-scenes special that highlights how great the series is

HBO’s Hard Knocks was cancelled this year, but in its place HBO is airing Hard Knocks: A Decade of NFL Training Camps. The 90-minute special is not so much a recap as it is a behind-the-scenes episode about the show’s production, from outtakes to footage of the production.

From montages of practical jokes and farts, to interaction with the producers, to anger at the crews, it’s both insightful and fun. It debuted last week and besides being on demand, re-airs frequently (click television to see all air times).

The NFL Films-produced show debuted in 2001, and has aired six seasons since then. The special is a reminder of what a great series this is, not only because of its exceptional access, but also because of its authenticity. We get to know the players, coaches, and others in ways that are unexpected, educational, and thoroughly entertaining. That it’s HBO makes it even better, because it’s uncensored, and thus the footage is quite the opposite from what you’d typically expect from something coming out of the NFL.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.