Bill Simmons is going to HBO.
Simmons, the most popular and influential sportswriter of this century, had spent most of his career at ESPN, where he wrote for the website, hosted a long-running podcast (on which I've been an occasional guest), helped create the acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series, and eventually launched the Grantland website, which covered Simmons' twin loves of sports and pop culture.
Forced out at ESPN earlier this year (months before his contract was due to expire) over various public comments about both ESPN management and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Simmons has landed at a place even more comfortable with the intersection of sports and entertainment.
He's signed a multi-year, multi-platform exclusive agreement with HBO that will include a talk show set to debut on HBO in 2016: “Topical and spontaneous, the show will feature stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscapes.” He also has a production deal to produce content for both HBO's TV networks and its digital platforms, will work on video podcasts, and will also consult with HBO Sports “on non-boxing-related programming, including the development of shows and documentary films for the network.”
“It”s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in the release announcing the deal.
ESPN after a while tired of Simmons' outspokenness, but HBO has long been home to strong-willed, very vocal talent, and this seems a very good marriage for both parties.
What does everybody else think? What would you like to see Simmons doing at HBO, whether with his talk show or on the production side?