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REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV's most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show's 207th edition debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: June 26 (8:00 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 28 (midnight) and 30 (5:15 p.m.), and July 2 (noon), 4 (10:00 a.m.), 7 (10:30 p.m.), 9 (5:00 p.m.), 10 (2:55 a.m.), 13 (11:00 a.m.) and 18 (2:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: June 26 (8:00 p.m.) and 29 (1:00 a.m.), and July 5 (9:45 a.m.), 11 (5:30 p.m.), 15 (8:00 a.m.), 17 (11:15 p.m.), 20 (12:45 p.m.) and 21 (1:50 p.m.)
HBO On Demand® availability: June 30-July 21
*Anatomy of a Fix. As the world focuses on soccer's biggest stage, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS' investigative team, led by host Bryant Gumbel, explores a global, match-fixing network that threatens the very legitimacy of the sport. At the center of the Scandal are nearly 400 professional soccer games in Europe that are under suspicion of being fixed by players or referees who allegedly accepted money to influence the outcome of matches. Some of the matches occurred at high levels of the sport, such as Champions League contests in England and World Cup qualifying showdowns.
This elaborate, multi-continental network continues to stretch across oceans and soccer leagues. In preparing this report, REAL SPORTS traveled to: Italy, one of the cornerstones of the match-fixing scandal; the Far East, where many of the organized schemes are formed and funded; Berlin, to meet a convicted fixer who worked with an Asian syndicate to rig a World Cup qualifying match in 2009; and Lyon, France, where the lead investigator for Interpol attempts to track the worldwide fix.
Producers: Tim Walker, Josh Fine.
*Strawberry's Redemption. There might not be a more notable fall from grace in baseball than Darryl Strawberry's decline from stardom to drug addiction and financial ruin. Now 52, he's still one of the most beloved New York baseball players ever, but when his best days on the diamond were behind him, his life took a turn for the worse. The four-time World Series champion battled drug addiction, served time in jail due to multiple arrests, lost all his career earnings and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Between doctors' dire predictions and his deep depression, he was all but given up for dead.
To the surprise of many, Strawberry has made a remarkable turnaround. Out of the spotlight, he's been sober for nearly a decade and his cancer is in remission. Leaving his baseball days in the past, the eight-time All Star is a happily married, ordained minister and the founder of a recovery center for sufferers of substance abuse. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to Strawberry's new home in St. Louis to discuss everything from the dark times to his extraordinary transformation.
Producer: Jason Samuels.
*Hidden on the Sidelines. NFL cheerleaders are regarded by some as among the most glamorous women in sports. But outside the limelight are numerous allegations of financial exploitation and mistreatment. Five NFL teams - the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders - are all currently defendants in employment-law related lawsuits. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer speaks with a host of ex-cheerleaders, including former Oakland Raiderette Lacy T., whose lawsuit against her employer spawned four additional Suits against four other teams, and former Buffalo Jills, who accuse that team of subjecting them to humiliating body examinations and personal hygiene rules.
Producer: Maggie Burbank.
*American Beauty. Host Bryant Gumbel revisits the interesting and often bizarre world of women's bodybuilding. Although it's virtually ignored by mainstream media, and offers significantly smaller financial incentives than those available to male counterparts, thousands of participants make a living from the sport, with many pushing boundaries to achieve the perfect physique. In an environment of obsessive workouts, round-the-clock fitness routines and even plastic surgery, performance enhancers often play a crucial and dangerous role in the physical development these women seek. For some in search of Extra income, there's also "muscle worship," in which female bodybuilders allow male fans to massage and fetishize their bodies.
Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.
REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized 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, 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 26 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. On May 6, Real Sports captured the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for 2013.
Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports. Join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports or visiting @RealSportsHBO. Immediately following the debut of this month's show on June 24, viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.
The executive producer of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.