Following his departure from ESPN last month, it seems HBO may have set its sights on sports personality Bill Simmons. The former ESPN analyst and editor-in-chief of digital magazine Grantland.com may be in line for a new HBO series, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
As a major name in the sports media world, Simmons is a sought after asset right now, even after his highly-publicized falling out with ESPN. His style is popular with younger audiences, as he often injects analysis from his own life, giving stories a more personal spin, and mixes in pop culture references for added entertainment. His contract was set to expire this September with ESPN, and after rumors of a rift with ESPN President John Skipper, it was confirmed that Simmons’ contract would not be renewed. A week later, Simmons and the network officially parted ways.
Simmons’ past creative differences with ESPN are no secret, and his suspension last September following critical comments re the Ray Rice domestic violence case may have set the wheels in motion to speed up his departure from the network. HBO, which is known for its controversial programming like Game of Thrones and political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, may very well be a better fit as home for Simmons, supporting more creative freedoms than perhaps ESPN (which is owned by the family oriented behemoth, Disney) was willing to provide.
According to the Business Insider, Simmons’ podcast was the most popular in sports. He has also written for Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and was a popular NBA analyst. With his many rolls in the industry, Simmons has been nicknamed The Sports Guy. He originally got his job with ESPN back in 2001 after the network noticed his Website BostonSportsGuy.com. He is married with two kids, often referring to his wife, Kari Simmons (Crichton) simply as “The Sports Gal.”
Along with the possible HBO series, Gawker reported rumors earlier this month that Simmons may also be collaborating with Jon Stewart, who will soon be departing from The Daily Show, to start their own online subscription network.