Simmons’ Ball Stops Bouncing
Schadenfreude alert: News has come down that HBO has canceled Bill Simmons’ show Any Given Wednesday.
I can’t say I’m surprised, given my reaction to the two episodes I tried to watch back when the effort was first born. The show just wasn’t very good. But this is just a minor setback, right? Simmons is sure to land on his feet somewhere, isn’t he?
Don’t be so sure.I’ve had plenty of negative things to say about Simmons, up to and including blaming him for Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide. I never really got what it was supposed to be all about with him, and why so many people–and so quickly–decided that he was a major force in sports journalism. All I ever saw was a guy who was the kept pet of the Connecticut Clown College, and once that partnership dissolved–in acrimony, one should note–it seemed inevitable that Simmons, left to stand or fall on his own, would certainly fall, and fail.
And that’s exactly how it went down. And, too, while plenty of folks jump from station to station in the TV biz, particularly in the sports TV biz, the fact that AGW bit the dust, and so quickly, is a very ominous sign for Simmons. HBO is famously good at developing TV shows, and they are almost as famously patient with their development projects. The fact that they terminated Simmons and his show so soon really speaks volumes about how little he had to offer beyond towing the ESPN line and singing the praises of the house teams. That plays in Bristol, but it wasn’t nearly as popular around the rest of the world, where Simmons remained–and I think we can say this in retrospect–a parochial voice who wasn’t nearly as entertaining as he thought he was.
The lesson here certainly applies to the world of sports–which remains, even in these sordid and scale-tipping days, largely a meritocracy–and perhaps has application to the wider world: just because you’re something big now, it doesn’t mean you’ll be something big forever. Indeed, obscurity may be coming sooner than you think.
Or, as Thompson himself liked to say: Today’s pig is tomorrow’s bacon. Selah.