HBO's REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL Returns Today



REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV's most honored sports journalism series and the only sports program recognized last year with a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, kicks off its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show's 202nd edition debuts today, TUESDAY, JAN. 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.



Other HBO playdates: Jan. 21 (2:15 a.m.), 23 (noon, 7:00 p.m.), 25 (11:45 p.m.), 26 (8:30 a.m., 5:25 a.m.), 28 (5:15 p.m.) and 31 (9:00 a.m.), and Feb. 3 (8:00 p.m.) and 8 (9:45 a.m.)



HBO2 playdates: Jan. 22 (4:45 p.m.), 25 (11:15 a.m.) and 31 (10:45 p.m.), and Feb. 4 (11:00 a.m., 11:00 p.m.), 7 (4:45 p.m.), 9 (3:00 p.m.) and 13 (1:00 p.m., 1:55 a.m.)



HBO On Demand® availability: Jan. 27-Feb. 17



Segments include:



*High Times. On Jan. 19, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will host their conference championship games in the only states in the U.S. that have legalized marijuana. Despite this decriminalization, the recreational drug is still prohibited by all NFL teams, and sparks headlines year-round, as players have been arrested for possession or suspended for failed drug tests. REAL SPORTS looks into marijuana use around The League and finds that players prefer it for pain management to opiate-based painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycodone, while research indicates it offers potential benefits to traumatic brain injury victims. This begs the question: Has America's most popular sport reached a Tipping Point with America's most popular drug? REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer examines the issue as The League prepares for Super Bowl XLVIII.



Producers: Chapman Downes.



*Boomer & Gunnar. In spring 1993, Norman "Boomer" Esiason's life changed forever. While attending a mini-camp for his new team, the New York Jets, Esiason received a call from his wife telling him that their chronically ill son, Gunnar, had been admitted to the hospital and was on a respirator. Following a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, Esiason made two calls: first to his father in his hometown on Long Island, and the second to journalist Frank Deford, who had endured his own daughter Alex's death from cystic fibrosis when she was eight years old.



At the time, the nine-year NFL veteran and former league MVP considered retiring to spend more time with Gunnar and the rest of his family. Instead, the four-time Pro Bowler decided to use his high profile to establish a foundation to fight the disease by raising money and awareness. Twenty years later, the 52-year-old remains a visible presence in the sports community as a drive-time radio host on WFAN in New York, an NFL analyst on Sundays for CBS, and a "Monday Night Football" radio broadcaster for Westwood One, while 22-year-old Gunnar recently graduated from college. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Frank Deford sits down with Esiason to learn more about his years fighting the good fight against cystic fibrosis, the Boomer Esiason Foundation's massive success in raising more than $100 million dollars, and the inspiring bond the two men share as fathers.



Producer: Nick Dolin.



*Sacramento's King. In 2011, after rumors began circulating that the Sacramento Kings' owners, the Maloof family, sought to relocate to Anaheim, city officials began to fight for the team's future in Sacramento. And in 2013, when it looked like Microsoft's Steve Ballmer would buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player himself, called on software titan Vivek Ranadive for help. Ranadive subsequently outbid Ballmer, paying more than $500 million, a record price, for the Kings and officially rededicated the franchise's future in Sacramento. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes one-on-one with the savior of Sacramento, and learns more about the man who took valiant strides to keep the Kings there.



Producer: Jordan Kronick.



REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized last May by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards from Columbia University, first in 2005 and again in 2012.



REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 25 Sports Emmy® Awards overall.



Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports, or join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports.



The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.




More On: HBO, The League, Tipping Point, Super Bowl.

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