Report: NHL, Epix network to partner on Winter Classic reality series

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HBO is out, and Epix is in.

That’s according to Monday’s report from ESPN — per sources, the NHL is teaming with cable/satellite network Epix for a reality TV series spinoff to HBO’s “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” series.

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Epix was launched in October 2009. President Mark Greenberg has a long history working for HBO, and producer Ross Greenburg is the former HBO senior executive who helped launch the original “24/7” in 2011 that featured the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Officials with Epix reached out to NHL officials to discuss the possibility of working with the league as a way to expand their sports documentary library. Their most recent project, an examination of how the color barrier was broken in the NFL in the 1940s entitled “The Forgotten Four,” is produced by Greenburg and is gaining significant buzz in advance of its release.

Greenburg will produce the new NHL series for Epix.

Production qualities, always a defining element of the previous three HBO productions, are again expected to be high with per-episode production budgets expected to be about $400,000 — on the high end for television documentaries, a source told ESPN.com.

The 2015 Winter Classic, featuring the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, will be played at Nationals Park on Jan. 1. ESPN reports that Epix and the NHL have also planned for a reality series in conjunction with the L.A. Kings-San Jose Sharks outdoor game, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 21.

In terms of viewing ability and programming accessibility, ESPN’s source said that “all hockey fans in the United States will have access to the finished product.”

The NHL is set to officially announce its plans with Epix at Nationals Park on Tuesday, Sept. 23, in conjunction with the unveiling of Washington’s Winter Classic jerseys.