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James Franklin: Penn State Has Explored HBO Appearance For Three Years

Penn State football head coach James Franklin said his program has discussed the possibility of appearing on an HBO-style docu-reality show for quite some time.

“It’s been a discussion really for the last three years,” Franklin said after news broke of Penn State’s upcoming appearance on HBO’s “24/7 College Football” series Wednesday. “After talking to people from other programs that did it, they felt like it was a positive.”

The Nittany Lions are no strangers to having camera crews follow their team around. “Unrivaled: The Penn State Football Story” is a university-sanctioned YouTube series that’s three episodes into its sixth season following Franklin and his program. Penn State Athletics’ media department puts cameras in the locker room and on the sidelines during games, and there are also cameras and mics on the field at practices throughout the week.

HBO will undoubtedly give a much larger audience an inside look at Penn State’s football program. However, Franklin said that his teams’ familiarity with having cameras and other media personnel around at all times won’t make HBO’s presence felt all that much.

“With the Unrivaled show that we already do, the cameras are around all the time,” he said. “Between the coaches and the leadership council, we didn’t really feel like it’d be a whole lot different than what we already do. Obviously it’s an opportunity to get our program out there on a national scale to allow people to see behind the curtain a little bit.”

Three other programs — Florida, Arizona State, and Washington State — will also get their own separate episodes of the series. The Gators’ episode will kick off the series on Wednesday, October 2, and Penn State will be featured on the series’ second episode.

The episode including the Nittany Lions’ preparation and build-up to the Purdue game will air at 10 p.m. on October 9. You’ll be able to watch the episode by tuning into HBO on TV, but you can also catch it on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]


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