Four More Grantland Staffers Joining Bill Simmons At HBO


Bill Simmons may have napalmed all bridges with ESPN on his way out, but that doesn’t mean he’s soured on the people who worked with him at Grantland — and at least four more of them will be joining him at HBO.

Billboard reports that Sean Fennessey, Juliet Litman, Mallory Rubin and Chris Ryan will all work for Simmons at HBO, though it’s unknown in what capacities they will all serve. Another former Grantland staffer, editorial director Dan Fierman, has accepted a similar position at MTV News.

It’s no surprise that some talent is following Simmons out the door considering the acrimonious break-up between the Sports Guy and his longtime employers. Grantland was started as a project to capitalize on Simmons’ stardom, a site where longform sports journalism could co-exist side by side with pop culture coverage, but that wasn’t enough to keep ESPN happy when its execs began feeling that the star they helped nurture was becoming more trouble than he was worth.

The final straw seemed to be Simmons’ repeated criticisms of ESPN’s relationship with the NFL, which is one of the network’s biggest corporate partners. ESPN then made a rather public display of announcing it would not renew its contract with Simmons, followed by him essentially pulling the old, “you can’t fire me, I quit” move.

For the moment, Grantland continues on without Simmons, though it’s long been speculated that some of its more high profile writers will end up alongside Simmons at some point. His exact plans with HBO remain a bit nebulous, though they include a talk show that will debut next year and production work on as yet unrevealed multimedia projects.