The Bill Simmons HBO sports talk show Any Given Wednesday will no longer air on Wednesday or any other day.
HBO announced this afternoon that the weekly show will end as of the November 9 episode (its 17th) after less than five months. Viewership had apparently dropped to just 82,000 for the most recent installment. The original plan called for a 20-episode season.
“The show received poor ratings from the start, and viewership got worse with time, according to the website Sports TV Ratings. Fewer than 200,000 people watched live some weeks, even with more popular movies as a lead-in,” Bloomberg Technology explained.
A former ESPN employee both on the air and as editor of Grantland website (which shut down in October 2015), Simmons is known for throwing a lot of shade at the Worldwide Leader in Sports since his departure. He also created the popular 30 for 30 documentary series while with the Bristol, Connecticut-based sports network.
You may recall that ESPN suspended Simmons in September 2014 for three weeks after he leveled criticism on his podcast toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident
As a NBA commentator, you may also remember his cringe-worthy exchange with ESPN anchor Sage Steele (see clip below).
There has been some chatter on the internet that in addition to the show being boring, viewers were turned off by Bill Simmons going full social justice warrior on Any Given Wednesday, the title for which is derived from the pro football saying that even an underdog could prevail on any given Sunday.
Joining the pay cable network in July of 2015 after he was let go by ESPN, Simmons reportedly earns about $9 million a year from HBO in a three-year contract that still has two years left.
HBO plans to stay in business with the Los Angeles-based Bill Simmons Media Group, in which it is a minority investor. In a statement, HBO Sports exec Peter Nelson explained that “HBO is committed to Bill Simmons, and we are excited to bring his unique vision to bear on an array of new programming initiatives under the HBO Sports banner in 2017. Bill is an award-winning executive producer in the documentary arena, and we will work closely with him in developing new and engaging content for our subscribers,” Deadspin detailed.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 4, 2016
In the same statement, Bill Simmons, 47, acknowledged that the show fells short of the mark.
“One of the many reasons I joined HBO was to see if we could create a show built around smart conversations for sports fans and pop culture junkies. We loved making that show, but unfortunately it never resonated with audiences like we hoped. And that’s on me. But I love being a part of HBO’s family and look forward to innovating with them on other ambitious programming ideas over these next several years — both for the network and for digital…”
“HBO’s deal with Simmons came as the premium cabler has sought to broaden the range of original unscripted programming that it serves up throughout the week,” Variety noted about the failed Any Given Wednesday offering.
If you subscribe to HBO, did you ever watch Any Given Wednesday hosted by Bill Simmons?
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