It’s been nine months since HBO signed ESPN and Grantland alum Bill Simmons to a multiplatform deal that was to include a weekly talk show. Today the premium cabler announced a title and premiere date for the program: Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons will launch at 10 PM June 22.
The show’s 20-episode rookie season will span pop culture — natch — and “touch on everything from sports and entertainment to arts and technology,” HBO said. It will feature guests, field segments and “Simmons’ signature commentary on current events.” It only runs a half-hour, so Simmons fans used to his 10,000-word screeds on ESPN.com and his late sports and culture site Grantland will just have to deal.
“Bill Simmons represents a unique and distinct voice with a proven track record of challenging the norm and igniting debate and discussion on a wide range of topics,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said in the announcement. “We are excited about the concept Bill and his team have developed for this show, which takes advantage of Bill’s intelligence, talent and insights.”
That team includes former Daily Show producer Stuart Miller, who will serve as EP on Any Given Wednesday along with Simmons and Eric Weinberger, the former NFL Network who was hired in November as president of Bill Simmons Media Group. Another Jon Stewart-era Daily Show alum, Jason Ross, is the talk show’s head writer.
“I’m excited about the show, I’m excited about the title and I’m really, really excited to drop my first F-bomb on TV,” Simmons said. “We are going to figure out nudity down the road, as long as it’s tasteful.”
Also part of Simmons’ multiyear HBO deal are the new Game of Thrones aftershow After the Thrones, which he produces, and upcoming sports and pop culture site The Ringer. Simmons left ESPN last year in a messy public breakup spurred by podcast comments he made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice scandal.
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