Did you Realize Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is in Season 25?

Real Sports

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is one of the longest running sports shows on American TV. However, people may not be aware that it has been running for an incredible 25 seasons. Real Sports is airs once a month and covers the stories that are going on behind the scenes rather than just focusing on the reporting of results. Wikipedia reports that telling these stories was the intention of Bryant Gumbel right from the day that the show began. He said that the fact that sports had changed so much by the mid 1990s meant that the stories of what happens away from the field deserved to be reported just as much as results and analysis of games.

The format of the show has been unchanged since it began. Four stories are covered in every show and these could be about teams, athletes or connections with sports and wider society. All sports that are played professionally in the United States could be the subject of a story that Real Sports covers. The aim of the show is to tell the most interesting stories that are happening that month and the actual sport that is involved almost becomes secondary to the story itself.

When the first episode was broadcast on April 2 1995, no one expected that it would last as long as it has. The show was completely different from any other sports show that was airing at the time and this meant it was something that caught the imagination of the public. It showed a different side of the world of sports, and gave people insights into different teams and individuals that they may not have known before. It also made people start to question whether there was more behind the sports stories that were broadcast in other forms of media.

The show has received 33 Sport Emmy’s throughout the time it has been on air, of which 19 were awarded for Outstanding Sports Journalism. It has also been called television’s best sports journalism by the New York Times. This is something that the show is quite rightly very proud of and this information features prominently on the official website of the show. The show has also received two Peabody awards which are awarded to broadcasters that have achieved excellence in their field.

Bryant Gumbel has hosted the show from the very beginning. He already had a successful career as a TV sports journalist before he became the host of Real Sports. According to Bio Wikis he worked on The Today Show for fifteen years.  He also spent three years as the host of the Early Show on CBS. The show was a step away from the work that he had done before, because the features took on a more investigative focus. However, it soon became clear that this form of journalism was something that he was very good at.

There have been some controversial stories that the show has covered in the past. In 2004 the show worked with a hidden camera team to film in secret camps in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates. Boys as young as five years old were kept in these camps and trained to race camels. Camel racing is a national sport in the UAE. This piece was produced with the help of human rights activist, Ansar Burney and was one of the most shocking stories that the show has ever reported on. The investigative team uncovered that most of the boys who were being trained as camel jockeys were actually part of a human slavery ring. The majority of them had been kidnapped from countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. As a result of this investigation the Ansar Burney Trust was able to put pressure on the governments of the UAE and Qatar and encourage them to end the use of children in this sport.

Stories such as this one show how different Real Sports is from other sports shows that air on TV. It highlights the fact that while sport is something that brings a lot of joy to many people, there can also be a dark side that people are not always aware of. The show can be very hard hitting and it is not afraid to call out the actions of people involved in the sports world if it believes that these people are acting immorally. This is a course of action that not all programs would be prepared to take, as it can put them at odds with some very powerful people.

The format of the show has since given rise to a number of other similar shows on HBO, although none of them have reached the status of Real Sports. On The Record With Bob Costas began in 2001 and had a similar format to Real Sports. Some differences were that each season only ran for 12 weeks and sports was not the whole focus. A revamp of the show took place in 2005 to give it more of a sports focus and it became known as Costas Now. It was also given a year round schedule. The show continued until February 2009 when Bob Costas left to join another network. A short lived program with Joe Buck called Joe Buck Live replaced Costas Now but this show was also short lived.

Bryant Gumbel is now in his seventies, but he has not given any indication that he will be retiring soon. It is hard to imagine Real Sports without him, but when he does decide to call it a day there is a good chance that the show will carry on. It has now been running for the best part of twenty five years and in this time has become one of the most iconic sports shows on American television. Although it would not be quite the same without Gumbel as the host, the format of the show is one that has been proven to work well and it is this that gives Real Sports its longevity.

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