Bill Simmons and his digital media company, The Ringer, have a deal in place to create a six-part 2021 documentary film series that spotlights pivotal creations and creators within the music sector.
Simmons, the co-creator of the Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 film series for ESPN, will import a similar framing philosophy to the music world with the new venture. The as-yet-untitled doc series will devote its installments to signature music acts, labels, albums, eras, or trends and each edition will be helmed b. different director.
The deal was brokered by CAA Media Finance and it delivers a coveted career opportunity for Simmons.
“It’s been a dream of mine to put this project together,” Simmons said. “It wasn’t until I started working with Jody and Marc that the potential of it started to seem real. We see an opportunity to elevate the storytelling form with music docs much like 30 for 30 changed the landscape for sports documentaries at the end of last decade. We don’t want to make music docs that just cover the beginning, middle and end of someone’s career. We think there’s a different way to do these. And we want to work with the best directors possible, talented filmmakers who have the same passion for this project that we do. I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge. Being able to explore this with HBO is like the cherry on top.”
Executive produced by Simmons, Polygram Entertainment, and Universal Music Publishing Group executives Jody Gerson and Marc Cimino, the series is expected to air on HBO over a six-week window in 2021.
“We’ve had a longtime collaboration with Bill, and we are thrilled that he came to HBO with this idea,” says Casey Bloys, President HBO Programming. “We look forward to working with him and the team at The Ringer to illuminate many of the fascinating artists and moments that have shaped the music industry.”
Simmons’ The Ringer launched in 2018 with an emphasis on sports, pop culture, and tech commentary. The company’s Ringer Films division produces both long- and short-form, non-fiction programming with credits including HBO’s critically acclaimed Andre the Giant and the upcoming Women of Troy, about the groundbreaking USC women’s basketball team of the 1980s.
Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of UMPG, says: “This series is about storytelling for musicians in a way that has never really been done before. There are countless great artists and songwriters who have culturally-defining stories and, for the first time, we can share those intimately with fans around the world. Marc and I have been big fans of Bill’s talent for storytelling for a long time, and we are thrilled to partner with him, The Ringer, HBO and Polygram Entertainment on this special project that will share the culturally defining stories of artists and songwriters.”