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Wednesday, Nov. 9th was the Last ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY WITH BILL SIMMONS

By Jef Dinsmore on Nov 11, 2016 to Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons

There has been a lot of buzz going about that Bill Simmons’ HBO gig wasn’t doing so hot. And now ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY is over. Its last installment was Wednesday, November 9 making 17 installments in all. Hell, HBO didn’t even let him officially wrap up his 20 episode run stopping just three short. But Bill Simmons isn’t leaving the network.

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Simmons does have a multi-year, multiplatform contract; he just isn’t going to appear weekly chatting sports and pop culture with his friends on a closed set anymore. Peter Nelson, EVP of HBO’s Sports Division stated –

“HBO is committed to Bill Simmons, and we are excited to bring his unique vision to bear on an array of new programming initiatives under the HBO Sports banner in 2017. Bill is an award-winning executive producer in the documentary arena, and we will work closely with him in developing new and engaging content for our subscribers.”

So what happened? Are there just too many commentators on HBO? It has Bill Maher and John Oliver weekly, except they do political & social commentary which is different context from what Simmons offered. There is also Bryant Gumbel and company, plus Jim Lampley. Well, Jim’s niche is strictly boxing and Bryant does big caliber journalistic reporting which again, are two formats different from what Simmons served    Wednesdays at 10:00 ET. The guess just must be that he wasn’t personable enough to hold viewer’s attention. He certainly ruffled feathers at his other jobs, but the biggest stir gotten out of ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY just might have been Ben Affleck’s rant about Deflategate in the first installment.

So perhaps the ratings were really bad. Some snooping around revealed that it certainly was a key factor. This writer found the info at the Washington Post. From that site we pull the statistic that his show was “down more than 75 percent from the series’ second-episode high-water mark of 362,000 viewers in June.” One October episode tallied 82,000 viewers; with playback & streaming the numbers average 2.4 million, but that is a far cry from Bill Maher’s 4.4 million watchers. Viewers just were not watching what this guy had to say. Nelson & Casey Bloys looked at the numbers and made the call to pull the show.  

To that end Simmons stated – “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.”

“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.”

ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY will surely sit at HBONow/Go for a while for those loyal or for those curious. We await what is in store next from Bill Simmons.










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