Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo by James D. Smith/ WireImage.com Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo by James D. Smith/ WireImage.com

HBO's fourth installment of the football reality series Hard Knocks premieres Wednesday with an inside look at the Dallas Cowboys, whose camp was also the focus of the series in 2002. "Training camp is just a laboratory of emotions. It's so raw," says NFL Films president Steve Sabol, who employs a 24-person film crew at the Oxnard, California, camp. (Alas, HBO doesn't expect quarterback Tony Romo's girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, to make an appearance, as she's not staying with the team.)

Timeliness are key to the five-episode run (Wednesdays, 10 pm/ET), so a fast turnaround is essential. The show's producers close down editing on Tuesday evenings, work through the night adding music and narration, and then have a helicopter transport the episode to HBO for its Wednesday airing. (Available for streaming two days later at HBO.com.)

With 80 players, coaches and flamboyant owner Jerry Jones, deciding what makes the show is a challenge. "You've got an old pro trying to hang on to his dream, and a kid trying to start living his - and we've got to try to get both ends of the story," Sabol says. And because the storylines are constantly changing, "you never know what you're going to end up with," admits Sabol. "It's like building an airplane in flight." - Dave Roeder