PROFILES THE UFC’S ULTIMATE FEMALE FIGHTER RONDA ROUSEY;
TELLS THE HARROWING STORY OF MARIA TOOR PAKAY; AND
RECONNECTS WITH GARETH THOMAS, WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS FEB. 19, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
Now in its 19th season, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism program, presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 191st edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, FEB. 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: Feb. 19 (3:05 a.m.), 21 (5:00 p.m., midnight), 24 (11:00 a.m.) and 27 (10:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m.), and March 1 (1:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 9 (10:30 a.m., 12:45 a.m.) and 11 (4:40 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Feb. 22 (8:00 p.m.), 23 (2:40 p.m.) and 25 (11:50 p.m.), and March 3 (4:00 p.m.), 5 (9:00 a.m., 9:00 p.m.) and 8 (12:30 p.m.)
HBO On Demand® availability: Feb. 25 – March 18. The show will also be available on HBO GO®.
*Blonde Ambition. As women continue to break down barriers in sports, Ronda Rousey remains ahead of the pack. In 2008, the mixed martial artist became the first American woman to medal in Judo at the Olympic Games. And in 2013, she will become the first woman to headline a women’s title fight for the UFC. An electrifying presence in the world of mixed martial arts, the 26-year-old is a triple threat of brawn, brains and beauty. Behind her is a strong woman, her mother, who is a former Judo champion and the one who taught Rousey how to execute her most famous move, the arm bar. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel visits Rousey’s home in Venice Beach, Cal. and training camp in Big Bear, where she opens up about her childhood, her groundbreaking fighting career and her accelerated rise to stardom.
Producer: Tim Walker.
*Talibanned. Maria Toor Pakay was born in 1990 in the lawless mountain region of northern Pakistan as a radical Islamic philosophy was taking root and women were restricted by Taliban leaders from doing many things, including playing sports. Encouraged by her father to pursue her interests, she posed as a boy and was soon one of the best young athletes in the country. Eventually revealing herself to be a woman, she became the national champion in her country’s beloved sport of squash. After Taliban leaders threatened to kill her if she did not end her athletic career, Pakay received a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a world champion in the Western world. She is now one of the sport’s rising stars and a symbol of resistance against oppression. Correspondent Mary Carillo travels to Pakistan for this captivating REAL SPORTS report.
Producer: Joe Lavine.
* The Only One. Imagine a sport where male bonding and toughness are not only more important than winning games, but define the men who play it. Now imagine being a gay man in this testosterone-driven environment, forced to hide your identity. For years, former Welsh national team member Gareth Thomas was one of the most successful figures in rugby while pretending to be somebody he was not. In 2009, Thomas came out publicly and became the only openly gay man among active players in major professional sports. Now 38-years-old and retired from professional rugby, Thomas faces a new challenge: competing in one of the most stereotypically gay sports, figure skating, on the British, reality series “Dancing on Ice.” In this Real Sports segment, correspondent Bernard Goldberg reconnects with Gareth Thomas as he prepares for the competition while knocking down more barriers.
Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Joe Perskie.
REAL SPORTS has won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times and has received 23 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. It is the only sports program ever honored with the duPont Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, having first been recognized in 2005. In Jan. 2012, REAL SPORTS received its second duPont Award, for a series of investigative reports on concussions, highlighted by the Aug. 2010 story revealing the scientific link between sports concussions and the onset of ALS. In April 2012, the show received the Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Sports Journalism for Bernard Goldberg’s 2011 report on the college bowl game money trail. Last month, REAL SPORTS won the Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Sports Program.
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The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.