Veteran sportswriter Bill Simmons received his walking papers from HBO after just four months of hosting Any Given Wednesday.
The show, which Simmons hoped would bring him relevancy again after ESPN ditched him and his once-popular Grantland site that he spearheaded for 14 years, received criticism as boring and preachy. Sporting News observed just one month into the “Any Given Wednesday” broadcasts that the show was “tanking” and the “clock was ticking.” The last show will air on Nov. 9.
Any Given Wednesday reached an all time viewer low on October 26 when a meager 82,000 tuned in to watch the snarky Liberal interview Wayne Gretzky, Bill Burr, and Larry Wilmore. Simmons did enjoy one stunning Any Given Wednesday episode when he interviewed an apoplectic Ben Affleck. The Argo director went ballistic on the NFL for docking Tom Brady four games for Deflategate. The video went viral attracting more than 2 million viewers.
Sporting News reported that not wasting any time in canceling Simmons’ Any Given Wednesday parallels HBO’s treatment of Joe Buck Live in 2010, which also suffered an early death after three episodes.
In a recent interview with Boston Globe reporter Chad Finn, Simmons demonstrated an ambivalence regarding Any Given Wednesday. Simmons remarked, “There are two TV shows: the show you thought you were gonna do, then the show you eventually end up doing. And how you handle the transition between those two versions determines whether it’s going to live or not.’
Simmons now joins Keith Olbermann as high-profile left-wing sports hosts who have lost the confidence of cable channels. ESPN let go Olbermann, who now hosts a video series on the invisible GQ channel.