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Simmons and HBO, A Perfect Match

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Bill Simmons and HBO are a perfect match. As reported by the Washington Post a couple of days ago, Bill Simmons and HBO have come to an agreement. The multi-year deal is for exclusive rights for many of HBO’s platforms. This includes a television show, podcasts and features. Also, Simmons will continue to write. How HBO implements this remains to be seen, but a clone of Grantland, Simmons’ creation, may be in the works.

Bill Simmons, the self-proclaimed “Sports Guy” was not retained by ESPN as his contract is nearing its end. The mastermind behind much of Grantland’s success has not published anything on the website, nor appeared on any of the sports network’s television programming since May. It was widely speculated that both sides were making attempts at coming to terms with a contract extension, but those talks fizzled as Simmons’ star faded in the eyes of the ESPN brass.

Not too many people shed tears over the Bill Simmons and ESPN divorce. ESPN is the undisputed leader in sports broadcasting, while Simmons, a talented professional, was destined to land on his feet. In a matter of months, HBO came in and swooped Simmons up.

Bill Simmons and HBO is a perfect match.

If you have ever read a Bill Simmons-penned article on Grantland, the first thing that stands out is the edginess and emotion. One of his strongest traits is that a Bill Simmons piece is littered with passion. That passion carried over on ESPN television and some people cringed. His passion for the Boston Celtics is worth noting.

Over paper, virtual paper that is, he comes across as a fan. Fans do not mince words when heaping praise or expressing disappointment. To say that Bill Simmons is a person without a filter is an understatement. That, coupled with his desire for wanting more creative control on his projects, led to a debate within ESPN’s management regarding if he was worthy of that responsibility. No personality at ESPN yields that type of power. If Bill Simmons was granted that cache, it would have opened the door for others who would want similar control.

With HBO, he should have creative control over many of his projects. What made Bill Simmons interesting on ESPN is the fact that he was allowed to be himself for a long time.

HBO likes edgy.

Adding Bill Simmons to their stable is similar to when they pegged politically-based comedian Bill Maher to host Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher had been left dangling by ABC, a Disney owned company just like ESPN. Maher was the host to Politically Incorrect. He was deemed to be too controversial for the network. HBO on the other hand saw a gem in Maher. The rest is history.

For Bill Simmons, freedom will be a wonderful tool. HBO will give him the opportunity to speak his mind while not having to apologize for it. Freedom is a gift that is seldom realized today in the media industry. There are several reasons why his relationship with ESPN dissolved after 14 mostly successful years.

It was the journalistic freedom that led to the development of Grantland and the critically acclaimed documentary series 30 for 30. They are staples in the sports world and will continue to be for years to come. He now has the chance to strike gold twice. And this time it will be with a network, a pay for television network which will allow him to exude all of the passion he chooses to.

One of Simmons’ favorite targets, one of them being NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will no longer be safe from his wrath. It is hard not to forget the tirade regarding Commissioner Goodell and his handling of the Ray Rice case. During the since-deleted podcast, Simmons went off on Goodell. He was suspended by ESPN for his rant. There would be no such suspension at HBO.

The gloves are now off. He can proceed in being no holds barred. That is just what HBO likes. Bill Simmons and HBO are perfect for each other.

Credit to The Inquisitr who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”

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TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”

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Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’

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First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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