The rich continue to get richer at HBO. After ESPN decided earlier this year that they would not renew the contract of Bill Simmons, the reporter, commentator, and Grantland guru has now made the jump officially over to the premium cable network. This has been rumored for weeks, but there were many details to be hammered out.
With this new deal, Simmons will have his hand in a variety of different forms of content for the network, and it will include a new weekly series set to air next year. HBO showed with John Oliver that they have a knack for scooping up talent from other networks and turning it into something great. This is especially true for people with distinct points of view; one of the issues Simmons ran into with ESPN management was stating strong views that occasionally clashed with the company line, and potentially some of the other television deals the network had.
In a statement, HBO programming head Michael Lombardo was quick to praise this acquisition:
“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.”
We know that HBO is in great shape, but where does this leave ESPN? The network has lost many of their top voices over the past several months, with Simmons simply being the most notable. Much of this could be cost-related to them since they have to spend so much money in broadcast deals for sporting events, but at this point they are not the only destination for sports news. Simmons fans may be willing to pay extra for premium content on HBO.
Take a look at this link to figure out if you want some more TV news via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)