Bill Simmons has returned from his ESPN suspension in time to debut his new series, “The Grantland Basketball Hour,” Thursday on the cable channel that recently sat him out for two weeks.
Simmons and co-host/best friend/NBA analyst Jalen Rose’s first guest on the first Grantland-branded TV series will be Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers; also appearing on the opening show are Michelle Beadle, Jeff Van Gundy and Zach Lowe.
The series, from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center as one of the first TV extensions of Exit 31 — which combined ESPN Films, Grantland and FiveThirtyEight under one umbrella — will air up to 18 one-hour, primetime episodes throughout the NBA regular season, playoffs and Finals. Additional episodes are planned for the NBA Draft and free agency period.
“The Grantland Basketball Hour” will film in front of a studio audience.
“We are delighted to bring the Grantland brand to television — it’s the natural evolution for our site and for everything Jalen and I have been doing on our video channel,” Simmons said on Tuesday. “We want to be creative, we want to be unpredictable and we want to stand out.”
The Grantland editor-in-chief and popular ESPN personality was suspended last month for calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar in a profanity-laced rant and then daring the so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports” to punish him. They took the dare.
“The Grantland Basketball Hour” premieres Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN