HBO picks up former ESPN sports commentator Bill Simmons

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Simmons finds a new home: HBO.

Simmons will host a weekly talk show next year as part of the agreement, which HBO described as exclusive, multi-year deal covering TV and other media.HBO announced a multi-year, multi-platform deal on Wednesday with the former ESPN star who was the founding editor of Grantland and the originator of the “30 for 30” documentary series after rising to prominence as a Boston-based sports columnist.Bill Simmons, whose caustic comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell got him suspended by ESPN and may have led to his departure from the network, has found a new home.

SI’s Richard Deitsch reports Grantland’s former editor-in-chief and founder of ESPN’s coveted “30 for 30″ documentary franchise, after ESPN announced in May his contract would not be renewed, has struck a deal with HBO. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.” According to the HBO statement, Simmons’ weekly program will feature conversations “across the sports and cultural landscapes,” a mix familiar to fans of the writer who devoted word count to 90210 and the history of the NBA.

The addition of Simmons is the latest sign that HBO may become a thorn in the NFL’s side, with Ballers painting an unflattering picture of the league while using team logos without permission. He was also the founder of and columnist for the ESPN-owned Grantland, a sports-and-culture Web site, and a co-founder of the network’s critically lauded “30-for-30” series of sports documentaries.

In the months since Skipper announced Simmons’ ESPN exit, speculation ran rampant as to where the former “Boston Sports Guy,” would end up next, with Fox Sports, Turner/Bleacher Report, Viceamong the possible candidates being mentioned in addition to HBO. “It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a statement released by HBO. “From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.” Simmons’ new deal comes on the heels of ESPN announcing that it will also be parting ways with high-profile talents Keith Olbermann and Colin Cowherd. HBO has not been a major player in sports programming, but it has televised championship boxing matches, aired sports documentaries and talk programs. He will also produce video podcasts and other features and will work with HBO’s sports division on non-boxing-related programming, including shows and documentaries.

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