Any Given Wednesday to End Next Week, HBO to Keep Bill Simmons

Even Bill Simmons can’t overcome poor ratings, and his first HBO venture is coming to an untimely end.

TV industry observers have been wondering for a while if the small audience for Bill Simmons’ HBO series Any Given Wednesday would spell its doom at the end of 2016. As it turns out, its finale will come even sooner than that.

HBO announced today that the next episode of Any Given Wednesday will be its last. The November 9 episode will serve as the series finale, and the show “will not return to the network next season.”

From the press release:

The decision was mutually agreed upon by HBO and Simmons, who joined the network in July of 2015.  In the past year, Simmons has created the Bill Simmons Media Group, which is responsible for a wide range of linear and digital initiatives including the debut of The Ringer website, developing new content and assets, and re-launching the leading podcast franchise in the sports industry.

Bill Simmons: “One of the many reasons I joined HBO was to see if we could create a show built around smart conversations for sports fans and pop culture junkies.  We loved making that show, but unfortunately it never resonated with audiences like we hoped. And that’s on me. But I love being a part of HBO’s family and look forward to innovating with them on other ambitious programming ideas over these next several years – both for the network and for digital. With that said, I want to thank the dedicated staff that worked so diligently with me behind the scenes to make this show every week – we hired so many great and talented people and I loved having them in my life. It’s difficult for me to imagine not working with them anymore.”

The network did reiterate its commitment to Simmons, with HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson saying that he’d be working on “an array of new programming initiatives under the HBO Sports banner in 2017.” nelson specifically cited Simmons’ expertise as a producer of documentaries, something that was always a part of the plan when HBO signed him after his departure from ESPN.

The question will be whether Simmons will ever be given another TV show. Many critics noted the weekly nature of Any Given Wednesday did it no favors, making it too slow to be able to react to events in sports and pop culture as they happened. Would a daily format have helped, or even been something Simmons would have interest in doing? That’s something people will definitely ponder as they digest his first series’ abrupt demise.

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