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The Malik Report

Talking about HBO’s 24/7 coverage of the Wings and Leafs

The NHL posted something of a moribund preview of Saturday's HBO 24/7 Red Wings-Maple Leafs series premiere in a press release issued this morning...

Head coaches Mike Babcock of the Red Wings and Randy Carlyle of the Maple Leafs, along with a host of key players, are in the spotlight as the two clubs battle through busy December schedules.

But Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus spoke with 24/7 producer Bentley Weiner about the series, suggesting that the Wings and Leafs' history and historically bitter rivalry will shine through...

“Each team is different, but Detroit being Detroit, its team has so much tradition and history,” Weiner said. “Hockey means so much here, and that’s something that… looking around [Joe Louis Arena], all the memorabilia, we’re going to capture all that, you’re going to see all of this history.”

In the process, viewers will be provided with an unprecedented all-access look into the players’ lives and the teams’ daily operations.

“We’ll be fully embedded with the team in December, and that’s when we’ll go everywhere the teams go: on airplanes, buses, team player homes, and that’s when it really gets exciting,” Weiner said. “So far, the cooperation with both organizations has been fantastic. We’re so grateful and thankful that they’ve opened their doors and their locker rooms to us.”

And Kubus also spoke with Red Wings CEO Tom Wilson about embracing the "embedded" crews despite the Wings' status as a team that is incredibly protective of its players' right to privacy:

President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment Tom Wilson said then-New York Rangers coach John Tortorella – infamous for his cold demeanor toward the media – really grew warm to the idea of 24/7 by the time the show was all over when his club participated for the 2012 Winter Classic.

“John is tough, has his own relationship with the media and probably was not a big fan of the idea,” Wilson said. “And by the time it was over – they played this on the last episode last year – when he was thanking the HBO crew for being there, for being part of the family, for understanding the way things worked, for taking the time and making it available to the general public.”

A big question was how HBO determines who gets the most airtime on the show. But ultimately, that’s determined by the players themselves. It all depends on what happens and that’s what really makes the series exciting.

“The coaches are always the focal point of every show, the star players, the captains, the goalies…you know that they’re going to get some air time,” Weiner said. “What I’ve found in each of our series is that, something happens spontaneously during the series and that’s how our breakout stars emerge.”

Kubus continues...

And here's the rest of that press release:

HBO SPORTS® AND THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE® JOIN FORCES FOR 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC, A FOUR-EPISODE, ALL-ACCESS SERIES DEBUTING SATURDAY, DEC. 14 ON HBO

HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 17 Sports Emmy® Awards, again joins forces with the National Hockey League for the all-access reality series 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC, debuting SATURDAY, DEC. 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO in the U.S. The rivalry reaches its apex when the teams meet in the sixth edition of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at the University of Michigan football stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the stage will be set for more than 100,000 fans to attend the outdoor event.

Episode #1

Debut: SATURDAY, DEC. 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Dec. 14 (4:30 a.m.), 15 (8:30 a.m.), 16 (5:30 p.m., 2:25 a.m.), 17 (2:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 18 (5:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 19 (midnight), 20 (11:45 p.m.) and 21 (11:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Dec. 15 (midnight), 20 (9:00 p.m.) and 30 (11:30 a.m.)

Head coaches Mike Babcock of the Red Wings and Randy Carlyle of the Maple Leafs, along with a host of key players, are in the spotlight as the two clubs battle through busy December schedules.

For the first time, all four episodes of the HBO Sports HD presentation debut in prime time, on consecutive Saturday nights. Episodes two and three debut on subsequent Saturdays, Dec. 21 and 28, at the same time. The series finale debuts Saturday, Jan. 4, three days after the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, with cameras tracking all the drama of game day.

With 17 Sports Emmys®, “24/7” is the most-honored sports series of the past six years. At the 2012 Sports Emmy® Awards, the series received the Dick Schaap Writing Award for “24/7 Flyers/Rangers,” the third Sports Emmy® for the “24/7” NHL® franchise.

Launched in 2007, the earliest editions of “24/7” were devoted to boxing.

The executive producer of 24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC is Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Bentley Weiner; producer, Thomas Odelfelt; writer, Aaron Cohen; narrator, Liev Schreiber.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.