“The Sports Guy” just got another sports show on the Worldwide Leader in Sports network. In the process, Bill Simmons will leave his gig as “NBA Countdown” analyst on the same channel.
ESPN will debut the first Grantland-branded television series, “The Grantland Basketball Show,” featuring Simmons, on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. ET. The originally self-proclaimed “Boston Sports Guy” — who later became “The Sports Guy” — will continue to serve as Editor-in-chief of Grantland and “30 for 30” co-executive producer.
As for Simmons’ “NBA Countdown” replacement, an ESPN spokesperson told TheWrap: “We are in the process of discussing our options for the upcoming NBA season.”
“The Grantland Basketball Show” will feature discussion about a variety of National Basketball Association topics, facilitated by Simmons, with a rotating group of Grantland commentators and other contributors, according to an ESPN press release. Up to 18 one-hour, primetime episodes of the new show will air throughout the NBA season: eight during the regular season and eight during the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals.
Other episodes are planned for the NBA Draft and the league’s free agency period.
“The Grantland Basketball Show” will film at ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center. Elements from the show will also air on several ESPN platforms, including “SportsCenter” and Grantland.
Simmons’ new endeavor is one of the first projects from ESPN’s new Exit 31 production studio, which is overseen by Marie Donoghue, senior vice president, Global Strategy, Business Development and Business Affairs.
Production for “The Grantland Basketball Show” will be overseen by Connor Schell, vice president and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content.
“We’re thrilled that Bill will continue to have a presence as part of ESPN’s NBA television efforts,” said John Wildhack, executive vice president, Production and Programming. “The nature of ‘The Grantland Basketball Show’ schedule will allow Bill to stay connected to the sport he loves, while focusing on his other priorities, including the successful Grantland site and the acclaimed 30 for 30 series.”
“‘The Grantland Basketball Show’ is a great step forward for Grantland as it continues to evolve and to expand its presence across ESPN platforms,” Donoghue said. “In addition, this show is precisely the type of innovative, smart content we’re aiming to create at Exit 31. Bill is one of the industry’s leading commentators, who also happens to be a human NBA encyclopedia, with a vast knowledge of the league and its history. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Bill and help bring his vision to life.”