TV Quick Hits: Bill Simmons’ HBO series canceled; ‘Stranger Things 2’ cast; Benedict Cumberbatch on ‘Tonight Show’

HBO -We begin this edition of TV Quick Hits today with what may very well be the most surprising news of the week for us: The abrupt end to HBO’s “Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons.” From a ratings standpoint, the show wasn’t performing well; yet, at the same time we consider him to be one of the brightest minds in the sports business, though one that has experienced several disappointments in between this and the end of Grantland. (He will remain and HBO under an overall deal and continue to develop more projects.)

In a statement per The Hollywood Reporter, Simmons had the following to say about the end of the series:

“One of the many reasons I joined HBO was to see if we could create a show built around smart conversations for sports fans and pop culture junkies … We loved making that show, but unfortunately it never resonated with audiences like we hoped. And that’s on me. But I love being a part of HBO’s family and look forward to innovating with them on other ambitious programming ideas over these next several years — both for the network and for digital. With that said, I want to thank the dedicated staff that worked so diligently with me behind the scenes to make this show every week — we hired so many great and talented people and I loved having them in my life. It’s difficult for me to imagine not working with them anymore.”

As for some other news from the day…

Stranger Things 2” cast photo – With the second season starting to get going for Netflix, the show posted the photo below on Twitter — and apparently, they really want you to have to work for it in terms of reading all of the text! New episodes will begin airing on the streaming provider in the new year.

Benedict Cumberbatch on “The Tonight Show” – There may not be anything altogether substantial here, but it is rather fun to see the “Sherlock” and “Doctor Strange” star (who is hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend) engaging in this bit of Mad Lib Theater. Sure, Jimmy’s show may be 99% fluff, but sometimes the fluff works and is funny. This is Fallon utilizing his best talents, and Benedict’s game for almost anything. (Photo: HBO.)

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