Bill Simmons out at ESPN?!

So, I noticed he hasn't posted a podcast since May 8th, and I've been so busy I wasn't missing it.  But he hasn't wrote an article either, and we're in the middle of the NBA finals.  Very unusual.  

Turns out ESPN locked him out of the podcast and Grantland and announced they won't pick him back up in September.  Which means he's a man without a country for the next four months.

This sucks.  Bill Simmons was the very first podcast I listened to all the way back in 2007.  I'm a huge fan, and he's had a really big impact on how I access and look at pop culture.  He's the reason I got into Mad Men and then The Wire. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/sports/bill-simmons-and-espn-are-parting-ways.html?_r=0
I understand ESPN and him parting ways, but I'm outraged that they aren't letting us get any farewell columns or wind up podcasts.  This is like chaining Johnny Carson out of the Tonight Show with four months left on his contract.  There's no closure. 

I'm sure he'll eventually break his silence, but I wondered if there were any other fans on here and what they thought about this.  
Travisksa1001
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Comments

  • Not much of a Bill Simmons guy, but it is similiar wo the way they treated Bruce Feldman after "Swing Your Sword."  ESPN did not like what he was saying about Goodell, so they killed the relationship.  
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 2015

    I'm a really big Simmons guy, at least on the podcast front. I really enjoy his writing style, but I typically am only online at work and his columns are generally too long for me to really read on the job. I agree. It's incredibly shitty of ESPN to not allow for a farewell. I was honestly pretty shocked that they are doing it this way. I suppose ESPN believes that they're on top of the mountain and can basically do whatever the hell they want and ultimately I suppose they're right but I'm pretty pissed about it. He deserves a farewell and as one of many, many fans I feel like we deserve to hear it. No more ménage-pods with Bucher and Stein. No more Klosterman or Cousin Sal or Jack-O, or him and Zach Lowe which has become a recurring interview that I have become increasingly excited to see pop up periodically. I imagine that in a few months he'll launch something new and it will be great, but the thin-ness of the details and as you said the lack of closure is really frustrating.

    I also find myself wondering how the Grantland people feel about it. From the way it all sounded when they put it together, these people who signed on for his thing, his vision. People that wanted to do things his way. I'm sure it's a fantastic gig and they're well compensated and the show will go on, but I do wonder what the tone of the conversations that have gone on over there the last few weeks has been.

  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Right?  Also, good luck attracting young talent that might want to follow in Bill's footsteps and be the next Simmons for you.  It just doesn't make sense, and after reading more behind the scenes stuff, the pettiness of this Skipper guy is off the charts.
    Travis
  • AndrewAndrew New York
    I was a big Simmons fan from his early days at ESPN.  However, over the past few years I've drifted away from reading his columns.  

    I can see how one would be outraged that ESPN would do something like this to him, but I'm sure he has something to do with this as well.  They've basically given him free reign to do whatever he pleases over there, and in exchange, they probably felt as though he at least owed them them ability to tow the company line.

    Either way, staying silent is the best thing he can do.  It wouldn't help him at all to besmirch ESPN publicly. He has a ticket to anywhere he wants to go in 4 months, and I'm sure he doesn't want to ruin that.  It sucks that there will be a third-of-a-year void in the Simmons world, but him not doing any farewell stuff is probably mutually agreed upon. First, he's not retiring, so there's no need for farewells.  He'll just pick it up again in a few months.  Second, anything he did for ESPN right now would get huge ratings/readers/viewers, which would help them.  I doubt he'd want that.
    Travis
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    All that is true, as well.  He does seem to be a "difficult" employee, but the kind I have sympathy for.  On the other hand, in 5-6 months, once he's somewhere else, or maybe even independent, I'd LOVE to get a tell all from his perspective. 
    Travis
  • Wow, I'm surprised you're just finding out about this now, :).  Definitely enjoyed Simmons and listening to his basketball views.  I think I'll miss more some of his guests like Jacko and House.  I'm guessing that him and ESPN came to some sort of agreement that he was just simply finished and there would be no "goodbye" podcast or column.  I think it's a situation where both sides just got sick of each other and Simmons no longer had the proper backing amongst the higher ups.  It will be interesting to see where he goes.
  • Comparing Johnny Carson to Bill Simmons is a bit far but I liked Bill too. His mail bags are always entertaining and he was different because he felt more like a normal joe who loved sports instead of a jock or retired athlete given a job because of their experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that but Bill definitely brought more of a personal touch to sports being a nerd like me. 
  • also wonder how many of the Grantland guys will bounce if SImmons lands on his feet and can offer them good employment elsewhere. I have to imagine Bill was involved in hiring a lot of the original Grantland guys. 
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    edited June 2015
    But on a subscription service?

    I also can't really imagine what a project with both Simmons and Stewart would be like. Given that Stewart is quitting presumably to spend less time working, I could see this being sort of a Grantland 2 primarily run by Simmons but with Jon adding something every once an a while so he can still talk about whatever he finds important. If he's backing it there's a ton of instant credibility and resources, they could poach some big time writers/podcasters/contributors to whatever this is.

    The Simmons GoTcast featuring maester A_Ron?
  • Please don't go to Bleacher Report!!!! That would be a nightmare. But going from one censored site to another probably doesn't make much sense. 
  • And what kind of low life degenerates would offer a paid subscription model for exclusive content and VIP only access.....hmmm. ;) jk
    Travis
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    I would pay upwards of dollars a month for the BS Report and what ever Jon would do.
    Travis
  • i probably would too as long as he diversified a bit from basketball
    Travis
  • Something like that sounds like Simmons speed. He has always been known for being ahead of the game. I just can't see him taking a subordinate gig for a website or even for fox (unless they really, really backed up the truck and gave him a ton of freedom). He's an innovator and I suspect that whatever happens next with him will be pretty cool.
    Hatorian
  • SERSER Eugene, Oregon
    I was never much a fan of Simmons writing.  In fact, I thought it was pretty bad most of the time.  Dude seemed to suffer from lack of any editing.  It always seemed there was good stuff in there, just sandwiched in between lotsa bullshit.  That said, I like 30 for 30 and Grantland.  I also like the fact that he was kind of a loose cannon, and said whatever he felt like.  I should say, I haven't really read any of his stuff in 6-7 years.  Maybe it's different now.  

    As far as him leaving ESPN, I think ultimately it's best for him.  He has a legion of fans, and whether he wants to work for someone else, or do his own thing, he will be fine.  
  • HBO! if its anywhere near as good as Oliver's show it will be awesome. 



    Travis
  • I saw that they were in negotiations on twitter yesterday. HBO is kind of a perfect spot for him. I got pretty excited when I saw that.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Yep, same.  This could potentially be perfect.  As long as I get my damned podcasts!
    Travis
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    I liked what I saw of him guest hosting on PTI, and read an article now and then, but was never a huge fan (never knew much about his podcast before this story originally broke).  This is the kind of thing that could turn me onto him though, as long as he doesn't overcover the NFL, like all other sports programing.
    Travis
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 2015
    @Cory He does do a ton of NFL stuff during the season, but it was typically more fun than most. He had a weekly "guess the lines" podcast with (Jimmy Kimmel's) Cousin Sal that was always very entertaining and his interviewing/conversation style makes even topics that I don't care a ton about still entertaining. His bread and butter is the NBA though and he would do a lot of great work there. He really is very, very good at covering the NBA. In general though, he's just a very fun listen. I think my favorite of his casts was when he would get Chuck Klosterman in. The two of them bounce off of each other really well and the conversation always seemed to go to really interesting places. I'm not a huge Carolla fan, but the two of them were always very entertaining together as well. I also always loved it when you would see a Dave Dameshek episode pop up too.
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    Thanks for the info @Travis, I'll have to check him out once he resurfaces with a new podcast during the post-NFL NBA season.  Does he cover NHL or MLB during his podcasts as well?
  • @Cory He does some MLB, but not as much as the NFL and NBA. He's a really big Red Sox fan and it's always fun when he calls his friend Jack-O who is a big Yankees fan and they will poke fun at each other. I'm not sure how much NHL he does. Not a lot, but not never. He's definitely mostly NBA, NFL, and pop culture-centric.
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    Right on, I'll check him out when he ventures back.
    Travis
  • If he goes to HBO maybe he can lure Jalen Rose with him. I could see an hour long free-flowing show like Bill Maher but sports centric. He should have negotiated to 'own' the grantland site. Like when Men in Blazers left EPSN they were able to keep their brand and podcast intact. 
    Travis
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited July 2015

    It's official. He's going to HBO. I'm really excited. I think he is going to be really great over there.

    http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/bill-simmons-finds-a-new-home-at-hbo-after-his-espn-divorce#

    Andrew
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Hell yeah!  I'm a bit skeptical of the "video podcast" idea, but I'm happy he's with a brand that has long supported creative independence.  Also, he can swear on his podcast now.  Win/win.
    Travis
  • @A_Ron_Hubbard I agree with you about the "video podcast" thing. I basically started skipping the 1/3 season NBA reviews because it was like listening to a TV show that constantly referred to a visual that I was not getting (I know that I could have just watched them on youtube, but I generally listen to podcasts at work or when I'm out walking my dogs, at points in time where I don't really have the capability to watch things. I hope this isn't the new BS Report format, where they will have an audio version but you will basically be clearly missing out on a lot of the experience by losing the visual. I'm not sure if my love of the BS Report will be able to compete with the television shows in which it would now be in competition, but who knows? The BS Report is really great.

    All that said, I agree too that it's a really good match. He definitely seems like an HBO kind of guy and I think he's going to do really great things there.

  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    I wonder how long we'll have to wait to hear the "real" story of how he left, or if that will forever be shrouded in rumor and mystery?
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited July 2015

    Bill's lips aren't the tightest. I have a feeling we'll get at least most of it at some point. It will of course not happen, but could you imagine how awesome it would be if episode 1 of his new show was basically, "Fuck ESPN, and Here's Why" with special guest Dan Patrick and a whole lot of those types of stories got told? If Bill's exit was anything like Dan's (which I don't know the details of, but he sure is super bitter) it could make for some really interesting story telling. It sounds like a lot of people leave ESPN really unhappily.

    AManIsNoOne
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