NFL will force teams to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks

HBO’s outstanding documentary series Hard Knocks is the best real-time summer reality series but has struggled to get teams to agree to be followed by its cameras.

The NFL passed a rule today that will require teams to participate if there no team volunteers to be followed by NFL Films for the series. Teams that have already been appeared on the show, have new coaches, or have made the playoffs twice in a row are excluded.

NFL.com reports that “is a tacit acknowledgment from the NFL that the show’s range and power are an invaluable asset to professional football, regardless of any perceived invasion of privacy.”

While this is good news for the continuation of high-quality reality television, forcing people to appear on a series is disturbing, though not as disturbing as, say, covering up the effects of the sport on its players’ brains.

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.