Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns Tuesday

From HBO Sports –

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL PROFILES NEW YORK RANGERS GOALIE HENRIK LUNDQVIST; GOES BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE HIGH-WIRE WALLENDA FAMILY; TELLS THE STORY OF THE SEATTLE MARINERS’ STEVE DELABAR; AND PROBES THE 2001 AND 2011 TRAGEDIES AT OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS MARCH 20, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

Now in its 18th season, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 180th edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, MARCH 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates:  March 20 (2:30 a.m.), 24 (10:30 a.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. PT, 2:15 a.m. PT), 27 (5:15 p.m., 12:10 a.m.) and 29 (12:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.), and April 1 (9:00 a.m.) and 4 (10:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  March 22 (6:00 p.m.) and 26 (8:30 a.m.), and April 3 (10:00 a.m., 9:00 p.m.), 7 (11:45 a.m.), 9 (2:00 p.m., midnight), 12 (7:00 p.m.) and 15 (3:30 p.m.)

HBO On Demand availability:  March 26-April 16

Segments include:

*King Henrik.  The New York Rangers are currently battling for the best record in the National Hockey League, led by All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.  The 30-year-old Swede leads the league in shutouts and has already topped 30 wins this season, becoming the first NHL goalie to exceed that total in each of his first seven seasons.  But there is more than meets the eye with Lundqvist.  He frequently appears on “best dressed” lists, plays guitar in a band that also includes tennis legend John McEnroe and participates in a variety of philanthropic efforts in the New York City area.  REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel sits down with the charismatic goalie, who captured gold with the Swedish national team at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, as he tries to lead the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1994.

Producer:  Lisa Bennett.

*The Flying Wallendas.  While there are many famous families in the circus business, probably none are more notable than the Flying Wallendas.  Since the early 1900s, this large extended family has been well-known for performing high-wire acts without a safety net, resulting in numerous deaths and debilitating injuries over the course of seven generations.  In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, REAL SPORTS correspondent Frank Deford sits down with members of the Wallenda family to find out what drives them to risk their lives and what keeps the family tradition going strong.

Producer:  Tim Walker.

*Wonder Arm.  While only eight to ten percent of Minor League Baseball players ultimately make a Major League roster, Steve Delabar, currently in camp with the Seattle Mariners in Arizona, defied the odds after a lengthy stint as a career minor leaguer.  For six seasons, the six-foot, five-inch right-handed relief pitcher never went beyond Single-A advanced ball.  Then, after suffering a seemingly career-ending elbow injury in 2009, Delabar left the game and headed back to the classroom to work as a substitute teacher and finish his undergraduate degree.  But his passion for the game never left him, and after participating in the Velocity Program, designed by former Major League pitcher Tom House, he began throwing harder than ever before.  In 2011, Delabar signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, and by September had achieved his dream of playing in the Major Leagues.  REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo sits down with the 28-year-old to hear his inspiring story.

Producer:  Nick Dolin.

*Oklahoma State Tragedies.  In Jan. 2001, the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team and staff boarded two small jets and a turbo-prop plane that were to take them home following a loss to Colorado.  But over Colorado, the turbo-prop plummeted 23,000 feet, crashing into a field and killing all on board, including two players, six staff members and both pilots.  Ten years later, in Nov. 2011, tragedy struck Oklahoma State again when women’s basketball head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna, along with an 82-year-old pilot and his wife, were killed when their single-engine plane crashed during an Arkansas recruiting trip.  REAL SPORTS’ Armen Keteyian returns to the Oklahoma State campus to see how the community is moving on from the latest tragedy and pose the same question he asked in his investigation of the first crash ten years ago:  Could this disaster have been prevented?

Producers:  Jake Rosenwasser, Zehra Mamdani and Brian Hyland.

REAL SPORTS has won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 14 times and has received 22 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.  On Jan. 19, 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.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Kirby Bradley is senior producer.

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