HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic lasted three seasons. It never stopped being cinematically beautiful, with terrific writing and the beautiful narration of Liev Schriber. It did, however, become somewhat formulaic, and eventually ran into problems where teams were denying HBO’s cameras access to places where they had been promised they could go. There was also the little factor of the NHL having final cut on the product.
This particular battle between art and commerce has ended, as HBO and the NHL will not be working together on a series for this season, as first reported by The Fan 590 in Toronto’s Greg Brady.
JUST IN: Sources tell me HBO is done w/ the NHL in terms of producing a 24/7 Series, revolving around Winter Classic or otherwise…
— Greg Brady (@gbradyradio) September 11, 2014
HBO sent the following statement to Awful Announcing.
Everybody at HBO enjoyed working with the NHL and its teams on 24/7 the past four years.
It was an exciting endeavor and we’re very proud of the never-before-seen presentation of the world of hockey that 24/7 was able to capture.
There was never an expectation that HBO would chronicle the lead-up to the Winter Classic every year.
So we will not be involved with the NHL this season.
We wish the NHL the very best and the door will always remain open.
UPDATED: We received a response from the NHL:
We are not partnering with HBO this year. They were a great partner for the last four years. We will announce our new partner and plans on 9/23 in DC at Nationals Park.
Be interested to see who this “new partner” is, whether it’s merely NBCSN, or perhaps an HBO competitor (Showtime?).
I’m a little disappointed that the show isn’t coming back, if only for the potential combatants this season’s game would bring. Patrick Kane, reality TV-style? A revisit to Alexander Ovechkin’s career arc? Joel Quenneville’s mustache? Will no one chronicle these things?!
It’s likely the NHL and NBC will combine on some sort of series, similar to last season’s NHL Revealed, to headline this year’s outdoor games, which will be narrowed down to the Winter Classic at Nationals Park and the Stadium Series at Santa Clara. That said, we’ll miss the buildup to 24/7 and the sideshow it brought to the dog days of the NHL season, even though the sideshow is probably why the show is going away, for now. HBO put their best resources behind the series, and though it never quite captured the voyeuristic excitement of the Penguins/Capitals season, it was never unappreciated by hockey fans.