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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

ESPN Launches New Content Unit ‘Exit 31′

ESPN logo GESPN is combining Grantland, ESPN Films and FiveThirtyEight into one new content group titled Exit 31. The name is reference to the exit off of I-84 which leads to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

Exit 31 will essentially use the resources available to Grantland, ESPN Films and FiveThirtyEight to create a wide variety of content.

Initial projects include FiveThirtyEight Films — which will produce short and long length videos featuring data analytics — and a new franchise for the 30 for 30 documentary series, 30 for 30 Soccer Stories.

The Exit 31 group will be led by Marie Donoghue, ESPN’s senior VP, global strategy, business development and business affairs. Nate Silver (editor-in-chief, FiveThirtyEight); Connor Schell (VP, ESPN Films); David Cho (senior director, strategy and business development, Grantland and FiveThirtyEight); and Bill Simmons (editor-in-chief, Grantland) will all report to Donoghue.

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Bill Simmons Discusses Grantland

Bill Simmons GGrantland, the ESPN owned site edited by Bill Simmons, is almost three years old. That’s as good a time as any to check in with Simmons on the site’s past and future. Recode did just that, and below are some highlights. The full interview is here.

On keeping Grantland fresh:

This is a really dangerous time for us. Because you can hit a point – we’re not massively successful or anything, but I think we’re doing ok – where you just kind of become who you are. I don’t want that to happen.

What he told Nate Silver about launching FiveThirtyEight:

I was able to help as he was trying to figure out what the site was, by helping him carve out parameters about what he was going to do. Like telling him – get as much figured out before you start the site as you can, because once you’re in a big company, they have a way of trying to grab you here, and grab you here, and all of these people are coming at you.

On the future of Grantland:

I’m totally realistic. Grantland’s doing really well, but at the same time most people don’t know it even exists. So we have to figure out how to use the company better, to get on TV more, and do more multimedia stuff.

Morning Media Newsfeed: Bill Simmons Apologizes | US News Buys TheRun2016 | MLK Tweets Backfire

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The Dr. V Story: A Letter From The Editor (Grantland / Bill Simmons)
“How could you guys run that?” We started hearing that question on Friday afternoon, West Coast time, right as everyone was leaving our Los Angeles office to start the weekend. We kept hearing that question on Friday night, and all day Saturday, and Sunday, too. We heard it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook. We sifted through dozens of outraged emails from our readers. We read critiques on various blogs and message boards, an onslaught that kept coming and coming. I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that we definitely screwed up, but it happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. On Sunday, ESPN apologized on our behalf. I am apologizing on our behalf right now. My condolences to Dr. V’s friends and family for any pain our mistakes may have caused. So what did we screw up? Well, that’s where it gets complicated. The Guardian In a mea culpa that stretches to almost 3,000 words, Grantland’s editor-in-chief Bill Simmons writes that despite being extensively edited by multiple people, the ESPN-affiliated website had made the “massive mistake” of failing to have its article — about the inventor of a revolutionary golf club who committed suicide while the piece was being researched, and whom it posthumously outed as transgender — read before publication by someone familiar with the transgender community. He then lists seven errors of judgment contained in the piece that would probably have been caught and corrected. “I want to apologize. I failed,” Simmons writes. THR In addition to the editor-in-chief’s very lengthy apology, Grantland also posted a response by Christina Kahrl, titled: What Grantland Got Wrong. Not only does Kahrl cover baseball for ESPN.com, she is also on the board of directors for GLAAD, making her a fitting commentator on the issue. She admitted that the fact that Dr. V was a transsexual, “wasn’t merely irrelevant to the story, it wasn’t his information to share.” Kahrl goes on to state that: “I’m trans — so what?” Grantland / Christina Kahrl When you’re a writer, you want something you create to have a long life, to be something that readers will remember and revisit for years to come. If such was Caleb Hannan’s wish, it’s been granted, because his essay on “Dr. V And The Magical Putter” figures to be a permanent exhibit of what not to do, and how not to treat a fellow human being. Deadspin This weekend, Gerri Jordan, proprietor of Yar Golf, agreed to speak with me about the chain of events that led to the October suicide of her partner, Dr. V. Monday, she declined to carry through. “I have spoken with an attorney,” she wrote in an email, “And we are gathering information for potential legal action.”

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Bill Simmons Denies Rumor That he Pushed Magic Johnson Out of NBA Countdown

When word spread that Magic Johnson was leaving ESPN’s NBA Countdown, many were shocked. Magic is slightly better at basketball than your FishbowlNY editors, so his presence would seem to be a good thing. But nevertheless, he issued a statement that he was departing. Almost immediately, a report surfaced that Bill Simmons forced Johnson out in order to gain more power over the show. Simmons told Sports Illustrated that the rumor was completely false:

Those unnamed ‘sources’ are liars. Someone planted a fake story to try to make me look bad, and there’s a 99.3 percent chance it came from someone in Bristol (which presents its own set of concerns). I was upset; I can’t lie. Maybe this happens to people more often than I realize, and maybe it comes with the territory, but man … I can’t properly explain how fantastic it was to watch basketball with Magic for nine months.

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SI’s Peter King Launches MMQB Site

Sports Illustrated’s best NFL mind has launched his own site, The MMQB (named after his wildly popular MMQB column on SI.com). Joining King are a few other big names, like Greg Bedard, Jenny Vrentas and Robert Klemko. SI regulars such as Don Banks and Jim Trotter will also contribute to the site.

MMQB is likely to draw a lot of comparisons to Grantland — the site ESPN bestowed upon Bill Simmons — but it’s not exactly a perfect match. While Grantland is filled with pop culture, you won’t find any of that on MMQB; the latter is all NFL, all the time. The main similarity is that Grantland and MMQB were both smart business decisions by SI and ESPN.

When King’s contract was being negotiated this summer, he said he considered jumping ship to ESPN, which would’ve been a huge loss for SI. Instead, SI armed him with the resources to launch MMQB, and all is well. SI made a similar move by giving Simmons Grantland, which is popular and already profitable.

As far as the NFL goes, it’s tough to beat King’s reporting, so MMQB is going to be on every fan’s radar starting today. King got what he wanted, readers get more King and King-approved content, and ESPN keeps its best journalist happy. MMQB is a win-win-win.

Bill Walton Goes Bill Walton During Broadcast

What happens when you give a loose cannon like Bill Walton a live mic in Las Vegas?

A couple of cringe-worthy moments for the suits at ESPN.

Walton was calling Oregon vs. Washington at the Pac-12 tournament Thursday night and dropped a couple of broadcasting bombs that had Twitter buzzing.

First up, Walton on Ray Lewis:

Walton is making a reference to Lewis’ 2000 arrest following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta. The retired linebacker officially joined ESPN as an analyst on Wednesday. Maybe the murder joke was just hazing on Walton’s part? Welcome to ESPN, Ray.

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No Women Among The ‘Most Powerful’ in Sports Media

According to Sports Illustrated’Richard Deitsch, women carry zero clout in the sports media world. Deitsch published a list of the “The 10 Most Powerful People in Sports Media” and there’s not a singe woman made the cut. There are even 10 additional honorable mentions, but still it’s all dudes, all the time.

Bill Simmons got the top spot, no argument there. But how can Deitsch ignore people like the insanely talented Jemele Hill? Or Shelley Smith? And surely Christine Brennan should’ve at least cracked the top 15.

Deitsch is much more connected than us and maybe he just couldn’t see leaving any of the 20 men off his list, but to us, this is a little ridiculous. It also appears to be indicative of sports media’s culture, which still (It’s 2013! We checked!) downplays and discounts the contributions of women.

New Addition | Wrong Place | It’s Happening

TVNewser: Peter Boyer is joining Fox News. We hear Roger Ailes is pleased, but that guy is always jolly.

PRNewser: If you want to know if Senator Gillibrand has read 50 Shades of Grey you probably shouldn’t be allowed to moderate debates.

FishbowlLA: Bill Simmons is joining the NBA Countdown team. Start preparing your complaints now.

Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose Join NBA Countdown

After a false start, ESPN has finalized their ESPN/ABC KIA NBA Countdown show by adding Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, the network formally announced on Thursday.

Originally, Simmons was reportedly going to join Stan Van Gundy on the show, but when FishbowlLA contacted ESPN last month, they were unable to confirm the news. The former Orlando Magic head coach explained last week the reason why he didn’t get the job had to do with NBA commissioner David Stern, who reportedly nixed the idea. Read more

Grantland Film Looks at Schwarzenegger’s Teen Years

Arnold Schwarzenegger has pretty much turned into a punch line at this point in his life.

But before he nearly destroyed the state of California and acting as we know it, Schwarzenegger was part of the Austrian Army as a teen.

Arnold’s Blueprint, as part of Grantland’s 30 for 30 Shorts, touches on this topic in a 12-minute film that was released on Wednesday. If you ever wondered how Schwarzenegger got involved in bodybuilding, then this is the film for you.

Michael and Jeff Zimbalist, the two men responsible for the incredible 30 for 30 film The Two Escobars,  directed the short.

The 30 for 30 Shorts will air monthly on Grantland and Schwarzenegger will join Bill Simmons on The B.S. Report podcast on Tuesday.

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