NFL: DeMaurice Smith, Jay Glazer To Join Bill Simmons For HBO’s ‘Any Given Wednesday’
After a rough start ratings-wise, HBO’s Any Given Wednesday has bounced back with three solid weeks of over 200,000 people tuning in each time out. This week, things should be no different as, with the NFL season kicking off Thursday, Bill Simmons and friends have enlisted some of the most powerful characters in football for tonight’s show.
For obvious reasons, as USA Today reminds us, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not be one of those people. In a memo released to media on Wednesday afternoon, HBO spokesman Gregory Domino said the following about tonight’s episode:
“ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY WITH BILL SIMMONS, a weekly talk show hosted by one of the most influential figures in contemporary sports media, continues its 20-show season WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), followed by other new episodes subsequent Wednesdays at the same time, exclusively on HBO. Joining Simmons to talk about the upcoming NFL season, this week’s guests include DeMaurice Smith, executive director, NFL Players Association, NFL insider Jay Glazer and journalist Malcolm Gladwell.”
The official Twitter account for the popular show teased the episode in a tweet around the time the email was sent out.
— Any Given Wednesday (@AnyGivenWeds) September 7, 2016
When you want to talk football and the start of the NFL season, there are few better to have on than one of the most respected reporters in the industry and the head of the NFL Players Association. Smith and Gladwell will definitely bring some insight to tonight’s show, especially if — or when — Simmons asks Smith about the Colin Kaepernick-national anthem controversy, but the real highlight tonight could be Glazer.
Though it would make sense for Glazer to have a weekly spot on Simmons’ show, especially with the work that Glazer has done with HBO, nothing has been confirmed. Fans of the show should expect one of the topics Simmons and Glazer to discuss tonight being the addition of Skip Bayless to FOX Sports, one that Glazer’s co-worker, Troy Aikman, wasn’t a huge fan of. In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deistch, Aikman said the following about FOX hiring the man who once accused him — with no proof — of being gay.
“To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement. Clearly, [Fox Sports president of national networks] Jamie Horowitz and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”
Glazer, the lead NFL insider for FOX Sports, also doubles as a UFC trainer and is a close friend of UFC President Dana White. Since joining FOX in 2004, Glazer has been a part of the Emmy-winning FOX NFL Sunday program alongside host Curt Menefee, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, 20-year FOX veteran Howie Long, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, and Michael Strahan, the one-time host of Kelly and Michael. Glazer has also dabbled in acting, most recently appearing in HBO’s Ballers, and commonly makes himself present at community service events.Though his football connections weren’t the best before being unanimously elected to head of the NFL Players Association in March 2009, DeMaurice Smith has proven in the years since to be a capable leader and one of the few people that refuses to bid to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s every wish. In a league that many fans perceive to be corrupt and evil, Smith stands out as one of the few who genuinely wants the best for his players.
Once an editor with Simmons’ Grantland, Malcolm Gladwell is a published author of five books that often dive deep into the human brain and explores why we do the things that we do. Once named as one of the “100 Most Influential People” by Time, Gladwell’s last book, 2013’s David andGoliath, was a bestseller but lacked strong critical reception.
Other HBO playdates include Sept. 8 (10:00 a.m., 11:30 p.m.), 9 (9:30 a.m., 11:05 p.m.), and 11 (11:45 a.m.) while HBO2 playdates are currently scheduled for Sept. 7 (11:00 p.m.), 8 (1:30 p.m.), 10 (10:45 a.m.), 12 (1:35 a.m.), and 13 (11:00 p.m.). Any Given Wednesday, which launched earlier this year, is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand, as well as other affiliate portals.
[Photo by David J. Phillip/AP Images]