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HBO

Soledad O’Brien To Make ‘Real Sports’ Debut Tuesday

On Tuesday, HBO will debut the new season of ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

It will also mark the show’s debut of former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien first report for “Real Sports” is called “The Fight Club,” and profiles an Iraq war veteran who organized a club to help veterans with PTSD alleviate their issues through mixed martial arts.

O’Brien also explained what she is looking for in her stories in a “Real Sports” video interview.

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Chris Matthews And Ashleigh Banfield Among ‘The Newsroom’ Paid Consultants

With season two of HBO’s “The Newsroom” right around the corner, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that HBO and Aaron Sorkin put together an all-star list of paid consultants to help make the show as “real” as possible.

Among the notable names: MSNBC host Chris Matthews (whose son Thomas Matthews is an actor on the show), CNN anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Natalie Allen (CNN is a sister network to HBO), MSNBC’s S.E. Cupp and Alex Wagner and former CNN and MSNBC president Rick Kaplan. The full list is here.

“I’ll be coming to you for everything from simple research questions to: ‘What kinds of conversations would there be about how to cover Trayvon Martin? Sandra Fluke? The contradictory stories about the circumstances under which Bin Laden was shot?’” he wrote in a lengthy welcome note to the group last fall.

THR also wrote a lengthy cover story about season two of “The Newsroom.” You can read it here.

Soledad O’Brien, The Brand

For former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” is something of a reunion. A former low level staffer at NBC News, O’Brien recalls producing segments with then “Today” anchor Gumbel.

“I was terrified,” O’Brien tells TVNewser. “[Gumbel] was one of the smartest and best interviewers in the business, and it was kind of an overwhelming prospect to be in his space.”

Now O’Brien will be on-air contributing to Gumbel’s HBO program, widely regarded as one of the best sports journalism programs on television. O’Brien will join a correspondent team that includes Mary Carillo, Bernard Goldberg and Andrea Kramer.

“I will do what I do, interviews, and to really tell stories, more about the human struggle to overcome something, to get through something,” O’Brien says of her “Real Sports” role. “It is longer form, but for me it is often under-told stories about the human condition.”

Her deal with HBO also includes a “first look” clause, giving the pay cabler first dibs on scripted programming and “long-form programming concepts” from O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group. HBO is known for taking real stories and turning them into dramatic films, most recently with the critically-acclaimed Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” and also for “Game Change.”
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Soledad O’Brien Joins HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien is joining the team at HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” HBO Sports says.

In addition, HBO has signed a “first look” deal with O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group, giving it the first crack at scripted projects and “long form programming concepts” that they develop.

O’Brien has a similar first look deal with CNN for doc series, such as the “In America” series. The deal with HBO actually keeps O’Brien in the Turner Broadcasting family, as HBO and CNN are sister networks under the Turner Broadcasting umbrella, which is owned by Time Warner. HBO docs and series are occasionally replayed on CNN.

“Soledad is a perfect fit for ‘Real Sports,’” said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman in a statement. “She’s an extraordinary interviewer and storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be able to add her to a franchise where the emphasis is on finding and presenting thought-provoking stories in the diverse and ever-fascinating world of sports.”

More information after the jump.
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VICE in North Korea: ‘I Know Who You Are, I Don’t Like You, and I Don’t Like Your Company’

Rodman, Duffy, Globetrotters

When VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy landed in Pyongyang, North Korea in March, he and his crew were not greeted particularly warmly.

“We were on the bus from the airport to the hotel, and one of the minders sat down next to [VICE producer] Jason and I and said ‘I know who you are, I don’t like you, and I don’t like your company,’” Duffy recalled, at a screening of the season finale of “VICE” on HBO.

The VICE crew were engaged in a game of gonzo journalism with the North Korean regime, conceived when VICE co-founder Shane Smith and a colleague were on a train traveling through Siberia, looking to shoot footage on North Korean labor camps. Smith was banned from returning to North Korea after the documentaries he shot were viewed by the government.

“The reality of it was that I saw what everybody else saw,” Smith said. “We wanted to see something that wasn’t shot, that wasn’t out there, that wasn’t the same tour over and over again.”

They decided that the key to getting into the country, and seeing a side of it that hadn’t been seen, was through basketball diplomacy, knowing that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was a huge Chicago Bulls fans.

“We reached out to a few Chicago Bulls, and [Dennis] Rodman said yes,” Smith recalled. “Michael Jordan’s camp was not interested, I believe.”

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Here Comes Season Two of ‘The Newsroom’

Season two of HBO’s “The Newsroom” is only a few weeks away, and to whet the appetites of those die-hard news fans, HBO has released a video preview of what to expect in season two. While news items will still play a part in the show, there are some underlying storylines that play out throughout the season.

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Season Two Of HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ Debuts Sunday July 14

The second season of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” which follows the fictional goings-on at “News Night” and Atlantis Cable News, will debut Sunday, July 14 at 10 PM.

According to HBO, “in the new season, the staff of ‘News Night’ chases a mysterious tip, which leads to a story that ultimately spins out of control.”

Some of the “real-life” stories featured on the show will be the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the GOP primaries and November election. We also know that Patton Oswalt will join the show as ACN’s VP of human resources, while Rosemarie DeWitt joins as a litigator defending the company in a wrongful-termination suit.

“The Newsroom” debuted on HBO last June to mixed reviews. Nevertheless, it was very quickly renewed for a season two. Aaron Sorkin created the show, which stars Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy.

ABC News Profiles ‘VICE’

HBO debuted a newsmagazine from the folks at VICE last night, the magazine known for its gonzo reportage, and the team behind Dennis Rodman‘s now-infamous trip to North Korea.

“Nightline’s” Bill Weir profiles the upstart media company, which says it wants to be “the next CNN.”
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Piers Morgan, Aaron Sorkin And The Cast Of ‘The Newsroom’ Walk Into The Paley Center…

CNN host Piers Morgan moderated the panel for the HBO series “The Newsroom” at the Paley Center For Media late Sunday. The Paley Center is in the midst of PaleyFest, which features panels and presentations of new and returning TV shows.

Morgan, Aaron Sorkin and the cast sparred a bit (in a friendly way, of course).

“I prefer to see Piers Morgan and Diane Sawyer on the news and not on a red carpet,” said Olivia Munn, a former G4 host who plays Sloan Sabbith on the program. “You turn on CNN, and people are putting themselves in the story … Journalism is about other people’s stories.”

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A Look At HBO’s New Newsmagazine ‘Vice’

In April, HBO will debut its new TV newsmagazine, “Vice,” based on the magazine and website of the same name.

The show, which features both original reportage and repackaged content from Vice.com, takes a very different tone from the newsmagzines that proliferate the broadcast networks. Violence, sex and taboo subjects seem to be par for the course.

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