Bill Simmons joins HBO with new show in 2016

Bill Simmons will host a new weekly series on HBO beginning in 2016, part of a new multi-year agreement announced by the cable network on Wednesday.

“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo 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.”

Simmons, the founding editor of Grantland.com and a key force behind ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, will be featured on multiple platforms, with HBO being his exclusive television home.

ESPN announced last May that it would not be renewing Simmons’ contract when it expired this fall. HBO’s deal with Simmons begins in October.

ESPN suspended Simmons for three weeks last September after a podcast discussion of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the recent Ray Rice controversy. In the podcast, Simmons used profanities and challenged ESPN to discipline him.

Simmons started at ESPN in 2001 as a columnist for ESPN.com’s Page 2. He also hosts a popular podcast on ESPN.com, “The B.S. Report.” and was an on-air personality for ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” show.

Simmons’ weekly HBO show will be “topical and spontaneous,” HBO said, featuring stories and guests from both the sports and cultural landscapes. Simmons also will produce content for HBO’s digital platforms, including video podcasts. He also will help develop shows and documentaries for HBO Sports.

“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a statement. “From the moment I started talking to Michael and [HBO chairman and CEO] Richard [Pepler], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”