Bill Simmons, perhaps the most famous voice in sports media, has agreed to a multi-year agreement with HBO, the network announced Wednesday in a press release.
Simmons will host a weekly HBO talk show, which is set to start in 2016, but he'll have his fingerprints all over other areas of HBO, too. The network said Simmons will be creating video podcasts and features, and he will also consult with HBO Sports. (Simmons was the figurehead behind ESPN's acclaimed "30 for 30" series.)
“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, said in a statement. “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.”
The agreement comes just months after Simmons was unceremoniously ousted by ESPN, the network where he had made his name, mostly as a columnist and podcaster. Simmons left behind Grantland, the website he carefully crafted in his image in his finals years with the network. With Simmons gone, there are whispers many of the staffers he brought on are angling to leave, as well, once their contracts run out.
In a statement accompanying HBO's release, Simmons took a not-so-subtle shot at his former employer, calling HBO "the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape."
“From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else," Simmons said. He also tweeted the 1983 HBO intro video on Wednesday after news broke.
The deal begins in October.