Twenty Wednesdays since Bill Simmons launched his talk show Any Given Wednesday, HBO has decided that it has only one Wednesday left. The network announced the show’s cancellation on Friday, but will give it one last hurrah on November 9th. HBO said it will remain in business with Simmons, who launched the Ringer website and podcast network after joining up with the premium cable channel.
“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,” Simmons said in a statement.
He’s right. The show never quite found its sweet spot with Simmons at the helm, who proved he’s much more comfortable behind the podcast mic or penning a column with Saved by the Bell references than he is on TV. That’s not a slight against him. The man is hugely successful for talking and writing about sports, and he'll continue after this. But at this point, it should be clear to everyone that his talents are better utilized away from the TV screen.
One suspects that this isn’t the worst news in the world for Simmons personally. Quick cancellation aside, he must be thrilled to be out from the bright lights, where he displayed all the charisma of a dart board hanging on the wall of his faux bachelor pad that served as the show’s set.
There’s a downside here of course, and it’s that people who worked on that show may lose their jobs. Another? We’ll no longer know where to go to get Ben Affleck’s drunken, rambling sports takes.