HBO, Bill Simmons Team for '30 for 30'-Like Music Documentary Series

The project from Ringer Films will take a similar approach to the music business that the ESPN docs did for sports.
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Bill Simmons

HBO and The Ringer's Bill Simmons are teaming for a series of documentaries about the music world, taking a similar approach to what Simmons did with sports docs in ESPN's 30 for 30 series.

The six-part series will task six filmmakers with exploring pivotal moments or stretches in an artist's career, iconic albums or larger looks at the music industry. Simmons' Ringer Films will produce, with Simmons serving as executive producer along with Polygram Entertainment and Universal Music Publishing Group executives Jody Gerson and Marc Cimino.

"It’s been a dream of mine to put this project together,” Simmons said Wednesday in a statement. "It wasn’t until I started working with Jody and Marc that the potential of it started to seem real. We see an opportunity to elevate the storytelling form with music docs much like 30 for 30 changed the landscape for sports documentaries at the end of last decade. We don’t want to make music docs that just cover the beginning, middle and end of someone’s career. We think there’s a different way to do these. And we want to work with the best directors possible, talented filmmakers who have the same passion for this project that we do. I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge. Being able to explore this with HBO is like the cherry on top."

HBO was an initial investor in The Ringer, and Simmons signed a new deal with the premium cable outlet in 2018. Ringer Films produced the documentary Andre the Giant for HBO and is at work on a second project, Showbiz Kids, directed and produced by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure).

"We’ve had a longtime collaboration with Bill, and we are thrilled that he came to HBO with this idea,” said HBO Programming president Casey Bloys. "We look forward to working with him and the team at The Ringer to illuminate many of the fascinating artists and moments that have shaped the music industry."

Added Gerson, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group: "This series is about storytelling for musicians in a way that has never really been done before. There are countless great artists and songwriters who have culturally defining stories and, for the first time, we can share those intimately with fans around the world. Marc and I have been big fans of Bill’s talent for storytelling for a long time, and we are thrilled to partner with him, The Ringer, HBO and Polygram Entertainment on this special project that will share the culturally defining stories of artists and songwriters."

The as-yet untitled HBO project is expected to air in 2021. No directors or subjects have been named.