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Simmons and HBO, A Perfect Match

Bill Simmons and HBO are a perfect match. As reported by the Washington Post a couple of days ago, Bill Simmons and HBO have come to an agreement. The multi-year deal is for exclusive rights for many of HBO’s platforms. This includes a television show, podcasts and features. Also, Simmons will continue to write. How HBO implements this remains to be seen, but a clone of Grantland, Simmons’ creation, may be in the works.

Bill Simmons, the self-proclaimed “Sports Guy” was not retained by ESPN as his contract is nearing its end. The mastermind behind much of Grantland’s success has not published anything on the website, nor appeared on any of the sports network’s television programming since May. It was widely speculated that both sides were making attempts at coming to terms with a contract extension, but those talks fizzled as Simmons’ star faded in the eyes of the ESPN brass.

Not too many people shed tears over the Bill Simmons and ESPN divorce. ESPN is the undisputed leader in sports broadcasting, while Simmons, a talented professional, was destined to land on his feet. In a matter of months, HBO came in and swooped Simmons up.

Bill Simmons and HBO is a perfect match.

If you have ever read a Bill Simmons-penned article on Grantland, the first thing that stands out is the edginess and emotion. One of his strongest traits is that a Bill Simmons piece is littered with passion. That passion carried over on ESPN television and some people cringed. His passion for the Boston Celtics is worth noting.

Over paper, virtual paper that is, he comes across as a fan. Fans do not mince words when heaping praise or expressing disappointment. To say that Bill Simmons is a person without a filter is an understatement. That, coupled with his desire for wanting more creative control on his projects, led to a debate within ESPN’s management regarding if he was worthy of that responsibility. No personality at ESPN yields that type of power. If Bill Simmons was granted that cache, it would have opened the door for others who would want similar control.

With HBO, he should have creative control over many of his projects. What made Bill Simmons interesting on ESPN is the fact that he was allowed to be himself for a long time.

HBO likes edgy.

Adding Bill Simmons to their stable is similar to when they pegged politically-based comedian Bill Maher to host Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher had been left dangling by ABC, a Disney owned company just like ESPN. Maher was the host to Politically Incorrect. He was deemed to be too controversial for the network. HBO on the other hand saw a gem in Maher. The rest is history.

For Bill Simmons, freedom will be a wonderful tool. HBO will give him the opportunity to speak his mind while not having to apologize for it. Freedom is a gift that is seldom realized today in the media industry. There are several reasons why his relationship with ESPN dissolved after 14 mostly successful years.

It was the journalistic freedom that led to the development of Grantland and the critically acclaimed documentary series 30 for 30. They are staples in the sports world and will continue to be for years to come. He now has the chance to strike gold twice. And this time it will be with a network, a pay for television network which will allow him to exude all of the passion he chooses to.

One of Simmons’ favorite targets, one of them being NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will no longer be safe from his wrath. It is hard not to forget the tirade regarding Commissioner Goodell and his handling of the Ray Rice case. During the since-deleted podcast, Simmons went off on Goodell. He was suspended by ESPN for his rant. There would be no such suspension at HBO.

The gloves are now off. He can proceed in being no holds barred. That is just what HBO likes. Bill Simmons and HBO are perfect for each other.

Credit to The Inquisitr who originally published this article

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