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HBO Signs Bill Simmons To Multi-Platform Deal

Former ESPN sports personality Bill Simmons has signed a new multi-platform deal with HBO, which will be highlighted by a weekly series launching in 2016, the network said Wednesday.

The agreement makes HBO the exclusive home for Simmons, who launched the sports and entertainment-based site Grantland.com in 2011. The agreement comes two months after Simmons departed ESPN in what ESPN executives called a “business decision.”

The HBO deal calls for Simmons to launch a talk show on HBO that will premiere in 2016 that will focus on stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscapes, according to the network.

Simmons will also produce content and assets for the network and its digital platforms, including video podcasts and features, according to HBO officials.

 “We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time,” said Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming in a statement. “His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.”

Simmons added: “It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape. From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard [Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO], it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.