Bill Simmons: HBO signs former ESPN, Grantland columnist for multi-year deal
The Sports Guy is now a guy at HBO.
Bill Simmons has signed a multi-year overall deal with HBO that will include a weekly talk show, the network announced Wednesday.
The move has been rumored to be in the works ever since the prominent sports columnist/TV pundit/book author and ESPN parted ways in the spring, ending his wildly successful (and tumultuous) decade-and-a-half run with the all-sports network. Simmons was the founding editor of ESPN.com sister site Grantland, and he brainstormed the concept for ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series, on which he served as an executive producer. In addition, his podcast, The B.S. Report, was a huge draw (President Obama was once a guest), ranking as the No. 1 sports podcast on iTunes in 2014.
Simmons’ exclusive deal, which begins in October, stretches across the network’s platforms and will give him a weekly talk show that to air on HBO and HBO Go. The show is described as “topical and spontaneous” and will showcase stories from “across the sports and cultural landscapes.” He also has a production deal to create such content as video podcasts for the network and digital platforms and will develop series and documentaries under the HBO Sports banner.
“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in HBO’s announcement of the deal. “From the moment I started talking to Michael [Lombardo, HBO programming president] and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.” He also acknowledged the deal on Twitter by tweeting a YouTube video of the old, iconic HBO intro.