Bill Simmons Leaving "NBA Countdown," Will Host Grantland-Branded NBA Show
ESPN yesterday announced that Bill Simmons will no longer appear as an analyst on the "NBA Countdown" studio show, and will transition to a featured role on the network's first Grantland-branded TV series. "The Grantland Basketball Show" will debut this fall, with discussions on a variety of NBA topics. Simmons will appear alongside a rotating group of Grantland commentators and other contributors. Up to 18 one-hour episodes will air on ESPN during the NBA season (ESPN). In Miami, Barry Jackson reported ESPN execs "haven't decided who might replace Simmons on NBA Countdown or whether to replace Simmons at all." The net said that the show's other hosts -- Sage Steele, Doug Collins and Jalen Rose -- are "all expected back." Jackson noted no studio show in network sports TV has had "more turnover in recent years than NBA Countdown." Simmons often "dominated the conversation on Countdown last season, and too often Collins wasn't given enough time to speak" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/12).