Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy-turned-Grantland editor-in-chief who suddenly and acrimoniously split from ESPN in May, announced Wednesday that he would be aligning with HBO on an exclusive multi-platform venture that would cover pop culture and sports. The centerpiece of the multi-year agreement, which begins in October, is Simmons’ own talk show, but he’ll also have a hand in HBO Sports’ other non-boxing programming, including the development of new series and documentaries.
The heavily rumored agreement will also feature Simmons bringing a video variation of his popular The B.S. Report podcast – albeit under a different name, since that’s still ESPN property – to HBO’s digital platforms. However, HBO’s announcement regarding their agreement with Simmons makes no mention about whether Simmons would continue to pen columns at his new venture.
“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a statement. “From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”
HBO is the home of long-running, Emmy-winning sports programming like Real Sports and Hard Knocks, as well as integral weekly politically minded shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Real Time with Bill Maher.
“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo added. “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.”