Bill Simmons is taking his talents to HBO.
The former ESPN writer and commentator has signed a multi-year deal with HBO to host a new weekly television series for the network that will air on the main HBO service, as well as the HBO digital platforms HBO GO® and HBO NOW. HBO said the show, which will debut in 2016, will feature stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscapes.
HBO will be Simmons' exclusive television home, which signals that he will land elsewhere for his digital writing. His agreement with the network begins in October. Among the elements of the deal: Simmons has been given a production deal to produce content and assets for the network and its digital platforms, delivering video podcasts and features. In addition, the network said in a release, Simmons will be consulting with HBO Sports, working closely with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman 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 a statement. Simmons' PR rep declined further comment when reached on Wednesday afternoon.
On the future of Grantland, the ESPN site built around Simmons before the network opted not to re-sign him, ESPN president John Skipper told SI.com in May that the company was committed to the site in the post-Simmons era and did not expect a mass exodus. “We are going to continue to do it, and we are going to continue to do it at the same level both financially and staff-wise,” Skipper said. “Bill did a great job building that site, and I think he and I will be on the same page in suggesting we want to build on that legacy.” Asked specifically by SI.com if he had a long-term commitment to Grantland, Skipper said yes.