‘The Sports Guy’ Bill Simmons from ESPN signs on with HBO

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Simmons heads to HBO.

Bill Simmons will take up with HBO after his ouster from ESPN, in a move that will have the revered sportswriter host a weekly talk show on the Time Warner pay-cable service starting in 2016.”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,” Lombardo said in a statement.In preparation for Simmons’ grand entrance on HBO, Bleacher Report put together some mashups of the “Sports Guy” and his new network’s biggest shows.

The pact between the two, which becomes effective in October, sets up what HBO called “a comprehensive partnership on a variety of platforms between the network and Simmons.” The talk show, expected to feature guests from the worlds of sports and culture, will also appear on HBO Go, the company’s on-demand service for subscribers, and HBO Now, its stand-alone broadband service. According to a press release, Simmons will be occupied with producing content for cable and digital audiences with a show and video podcasts and features. Simmons is also expected to produce content for various HBO venues, including podcasts, and will consult with HBO Sports in the development of shows and documentary films with Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports. He will not be involved in the company’s boxing coverage. “We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” said Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, in a prepared statement. “His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers.

The Walt Disney-owned sports media outlet has been scrutinizing its cost structure in the wake of rising fees for sports rights and a decline in subscribers. While it looks like Simmons won’t be writing — the talent that brought him from freelance contributor to major voice at ESPN — he won’t be abandoning his roots completely. ESPN recently declined to sign noted sportscaster Keith Olbermann to a new deal and lost out in a bidding war for the services of noted radio personality Colin Cowherd, who is expected to unveil an agreement to join Fox Sports at some time in the near future.

A weekly Simmons program would join the ranks of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” – programs that analyze the events of the week with a decidedly gimlet eye-view. HBO in March unveiled plans to launch a five-day-a-week newscast from Vice Media, the upstart news outlet that covers a range of topics with reportage that makes the viewer feel as if he or she were on the scene. The programming garners HBO attention and keeps the network in the pop-culture mix, yet costs significantly less than many of the scripted programs that have made the network a creative force, like “Game of Thrones.” Simmons would likely straddle the area between HBO’s sports content and the news-based series.

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