ESPN to Launch Bill Simmons' 'Grantland Basketball Show' in Fall
The ESPN analyst will exit 'NBA Countdown' as a result of the new show
Grantland is getting a television show.
The Grantland Basketball Show, an hourlong primetime program hosted by Grantland editor-in-chief and ESPN analyst Bill Simmons, will make its official debut on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. With his new hosting duties, Simmons will be exiting his post as analyst on ESPN's NBA Countdown program. He will continue to serve as co-executive producer for the 30 for 30 series.
The series is expected to feature discussions focused on NBA-related topics led by Simmons and featuring a rotating group of Grantland commentators and contributors. Up to 18 episodes of The Grantland Basketball Show are expected to air during the year — eight during the NBA regular season and eight during the playoffs and Finals. Other episodes are being eyed for the NBA draft and the free agency period.
The Grantland Basketball Show will be filmed at ESPN's studios in Los Angeles at L.A. Live, with content from the show also aired on other ESPN platforms, including SportsCenter and the Grantland website.
"We're thrilled that Bill will continue to have a presence as part of ESPN's NBA television efforts," said John Wildhack, executive vp 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," said Marie Donoghue, ESPN senior vp global strategy, business development and business affairs. "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."
The Grantland Basketball Show is one of the first projects from the Donoghue-led Exit 31, the new ESPN unit created in March to spur content incubation beyond traditional milieus and platforms.