Bill Simmons has had a tumultuous time on cable over the past year. He was booted from his gig on ESPN in 2015, and his fans lost him as a writer for the Grantland website and podcast host in addition to his work in front of the camera for the popular sports network. Luckily for those fans, he landed a huge deal with HBO that guaranteed him a talk show of his own. Any Given Wednesday premiered this past June; it has now been cancelled after only four months worth of episodes.
HBO has announced that Bill Simmons' weekly talk show is officially coming to a permanent end. Only 15 episodes hit the airwaves before HBO came to the decision. The final episode will debut on Wednesday, November 9 at 10 p.m. ET. Viewers who were already hooked on the series at least have one more episode to look forward to before Any Given Wednesday is gone for good.
Of course, there might not be all that many viewers who are heartbroken by the cancellation. Any Given Wednesday scored pretty abysmal ratings for HBO. An average of only 200,000 - no, there's no missing 0 in there - people tuned in to watch Any Given Wednesday live. The October 26 episode only attracted 82,000 viewers, according to THR. The viewership is significantly higher when taking streaming into account, with HBO Go and HBO Now numbers boosting the weekly average to 2.4 million viewers. Still, the numbers clearly weren't enough for HBO to continue producing the series.
The news came as a disappointment to Bill Simmons, especially considering that he had a heavy hand in designing the format of the series. In fact, he was able to tailor-make his new show. Each episode started with Simmons tackling a buzzworthy story, then moved to an interview with two guest simultaneously. A third segment featured a one-on-one interview. Installments were pre-taped rather than filmed in front of a live studio audience. It was a format with potential; it just never caught on with viewers during the four months that Any Given Wednesday was on the air.
Bill Simmons hasn't had the same harsh words for HBO as he did when he left ESPN, although that may be due to the fact that the end of Any Given Wednesday doesn't mean the end of his paycheck from HBO. The talk show was only part of his deal with the network. After leaving ESPN, he signed a three-year deal with HBO that guaranteed between $7 million and $9 million per year for a variety of projects. Now that Any Given Wednesday has come to an end, he'll undoubtedly put more focus on crafting content for HBO's digital platforms.
Only time will tell how we'll next see Bill Simmons on an HBO project. Hopefully he'll find more success with his next endeavor than he did with Any Given Wednesday.