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HBO Passes on 'Hard Knocks' Due to NFL's Uncertain Summer Schedule

hardknocks

Hard Knocks (HBO)

The NFL lockout has knocked out one of the most popular sports shows on television after HBO announced Friday it will not present "Hard Knocks" this year due to the uncertainty surrounding the league's summer schedule.

The five-episode series has taken a behind-the-scenes look at a team preparing for its season since 2001. Last year's version featured the New York Jets, drawing record ratings and making a star out of foul-mouthed coach Rex Ryan.

HBO says the series will return in 2012.

The NFL lockout started in March and did not end until this week, with training camps opening almost immediately. HBO says the league's "incredibly expedited timetable this month made it impractical for a team to commit."

In its place, the network plans to air a 10th anniversary special featuring highlights from previous seasons. It will premiere Aug. 31.

"The first 10 years of 'Hard Knocks' has been the ultimate fly-on-the-wall NFL training camp experience," said Steve Sabol, president on NFL Films, a partner in the series. "We look forward to taking a look back at those shows and reintroducing the fans to those characters who made the decade of 'Hard Knocks' so memorable."

It will combine flashbacks to seasons that featured the Baltimore Ravens (2001), Dallas Cowboys (2002, 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009) and the Jets (2010); a "Where Are They Now?" element; out-takes and new interviews.

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