After a great deal of speculation over the last month, HBO has announced it will spotlight Washington State and three other schools, Arizona State, Penn State and Florida, in a college football all-access series that will air later this fall, the network revealed Wednesday.
The HBO program, named “24/7 College Football” will be an expansion of the network’s landmark “24/7” franchise and in many ways emulate the popular Hard Knocks show that takes viewers behind the scenes of various NFL organizations and offers unfiltered looks at the personal lives of players and coaches.
According to a press release, the television series will chronicle “four programs in-season – Florida, Penn State, Arizona State and Washington State – as they meet the demands and challenges leading up to and through gameday.”
HBO will visit each school for a week and plans to feature WSU in the fourth and final episode, in conjunction with the Cougars’ Oct. 19 game against Colorado at Martin Stadium. The episode featuring WSU will then run the following Wednesday, for one hour, from 7-8 p.m. Pacific time.
“For many years, we have been enamored with the story lines and unrivaled traditions of college football, and we’re excited for the opportunity to expand the 24/7 franchise into the realm of college sports,” HBO executive producer Rick Bernstein said in a press release. “Viewers will feel the tremendous electricity of some of the best atmospheres in the country, and see the meticulous preparation and challenges facing these programs in the build-up to gameday and during the game action. We are excited for the challenge of delivering a four-part series of four different college programs over a four-week period with the production values and storytelling associated with our 24/7 franchise.”
Popular HBO Sports voice Liev Schreiber, who also presides over the Hard Knocks franchise, will narrate the four-part college football series that will “document the lives of head coaches Dan Mullen (Florida), James Franklin (Penn State), Herm Edwards (Arizona State) and Mike Leach (Washington State), players, assistant coaches and more over one week during the regular season.”
The show’s debut episode will feature Florida, airing on Oct. 2 after camera crews visit Gainsville for a Sept. 28 matchup against Towson. HBO will film Penn State the following week, obtaining footage before the Nittany Lions host Purdue on Oct. 5. The episode featuring PSU will then air Oct. 9. Cameras will then travel to Tempe and feature the Sun Devils, as they host the Cougars on Oct. 5. Episode three, highlighting ASU, will air Oct. 16.
HBO cameras have already made multiple trips to Pullman to gather footage and information about WSU, shooting Leach and the Cougars during fall camp and returning two weeks ago for a home game against Northern Colorado.
Various Cougar players and coaches were asked about the potential distraction of having a major TV network filming them and most agreed it wouldn’t detract from what the team was doing on the field, but it would be beneficial for exposure and recruiting purposes.
“It’s different,” quarterback Anthony Gordon said. “With the Cougs getting a lot of attention, it’s a little bit foreign to us I guess, but with coach Leach at the helm, he draws in a lot of attention, a lot of positive attention. So, having cameras around is no big deal.”
In addition to the main HBO network, 24/7 College Football will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW and HBO GO streaming platforms.
The series’ executive producer is Bo Mattingly, who was responsible for creating other college football programs, such as Kansas University-focused “Miles to Go” for ESPN+ and “Training Days: Rolling with the Tide,” which followed Nick Saban and Alamaba through fall camp.