Sports media mogul Bill Simmons, only a couple of months since being let go by ESPN where he had written, produced documentaries, and appeared on cable television basketball broadcasts, has inked a deal with HBO to work with the pay cable family of networks. His current ESPN contract runs through September, so he has been unable to publish since being removed as the editor of Grantland, the website he helped to create for HBO earlier in the decade. His contract with HBO will begin when the ESPN contract expires in October.
More from the New York Times:
In a statement announcing his decision to join HBO, Mr. Simmons said, “It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape.” He added that after talking with the network, “it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”
Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said in a statement: “We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time. His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. 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.”
It is unclear if Mr. Simmons’s new deal will leave him an outlet for the kind of written sports journalism that brought him to prominence, and led ESPN to build Grantland around him.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Simmons revitalized and helped to change the world of sportswriting with his “regular guy” take on sports columns online presaging the blog-heavy movement that lives on to this day. Many began to feel he lost touch with his original writing personality the more famous he got, but even those who did not enjoy his writing have to respect that he was the major creative force behind ESPN’s amazing documentary series 30 for 30. In addition to a talk show that will begin in 2016, one has to imagine he will bring similar programming to the table with HBO. We look forward to seeing how that turns out.