NEW YORK – HBO Sports, a trailblazer in sports reality programming, is teaming up again with IMG’s Original Content unit for an unscripted series chronicling the 2016-17 season of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s pursuit of a fifth consecutive national championship. UCONN HUSKIES: THE MARCH TO MADNESS debuts WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) with a special hour-long edition, followed by half-hour episodes debuting on subsequent Wednesdays.
UCONN HUSKIES: THE MARCH TO MADNESS spotlights the players, coaches and support personnel, chronicling the hard work and high expectations game-by-game in the American Athletic Conference as they seek to continue their extraordinary run of berths in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. Scheduled to run through the conclusion of the Huskies’ season, the show features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, offering a unique look at the personalities who shape the powerhouse program headquartered in Storrs, Conn.
The reigning national champions, the UConn Huskies have achieved unprecedented success in women’s college basketball and are on the verge of surpassing the UCLA men’s basketball record of 11 NCAA national championships. Under head coach Geno Auriemma, in his 32nd season with the team, the Huskies have earned berths in 28 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, going to 16 Final Fours and 11 national championships. Last spring, the team captured its fourth consecutive national championship, going undefeated for the sixth time.
“We are always looking for fascinating stories that will appeal to our subscribers, and this project will shine a spotlight on one of the most successful athletic programs in America,” says Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. “Under Coach Auriemma, the University of Connecticut has built a tremendous program that excels year after year. Our goal is to explore why this program is so accomplished and to tell the backstories of the student-athletes who are committed to carving out a remarkable piece of history on the college basketball landscape.”
“The Huskies’ program is the gold standard in college basketball: outstanding leadership, a legacy of dedicated players and the ability to make history time and time again,” says Mike Antinoro, senior vice president, Programming and Production, IMG. “We are excited and honored to share their unique story in partnership with HBO.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to be involved in this project,” says UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma. “Knowing the kind of high-quality content that is showcased by HBO, I am already looking forward to watching the first episode. This offers a tremendous opportunity for a lot of people to get an inside look at our university and to see just what goes into building a championship team.”
Journalist Harvey Araton has written, “Perfection, or near perfection, has become a virtual state of Connecticut grace.”
For more than a decade, HBO Sports has been responsible for some of the most compelling unscripted sports programming, with a stylish and contemporary approach keyed by unrestricted access. “Hard Knocks,” launched in 2001 in partnership with NFL Films, has won 14 Sports Emmy® Awards, and the groundbreaking all-access reality franchise “24/7” has earned 18 Sports Emmy® Awards.
UCONN HUSKIES: THE MARCH TO MADNESS marks HBO Sports’ second foray into a reality series spotlighting a college sports program. Last year, HBO and IMG teamed up for “Gonzaga: The March to Madness,” following that team’s march to its 18th consecutive NCAA men’s basketball tournament berth.
The show will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
UCONN HUSKIES: THE MARCH TO MADNESS is executive produced by Will Staeger, Mike Antinoro and Fred Christenson. For HBO: executive producer Rick Bernstein; supervising producer, Bentley Weiner.
IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, a leading global entertainment agency.
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Over the past three decades, HBO Sports has earned a reputation as one of sports television’s most prolific storytellers. From documentaries to unscripted reality programming to world championship boxing to magazine-style studio shows, HBO Sports has been a trailblazer. The department has earned 11 prestigious George F. Peabody Awards for production excellence in long-form programming and introduced a host of innovations and enhancements to increase subscriber satisfaction. Since 1991 HBO Sports has also earned 128 Sports Emmy® Awards and has been recognized with three duPont-Columbia University awards for excellence in broadcast journalism.