Behind the Mic: Bill Simmons Lands at HBO; Colin Cowherd Headed From ESPN to Fox

Bill Simmons has officially landed at HBO. The former ESPN personality and Grantland founding Editor will now call HBO his exclusive television home, including weekly television series set to debut in 2016 on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO NOW that will feature feature stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscapes. Simmons will also have a production deal to produce content and assets for the network and its digital platforms, delivering video podcasts and features. In addition, Simmons will be consulting with HBO Sports, working closely with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman on non-boxing-related programming, including the development of shows and documentary films for the network.

According to’s Richard Deitsch, Simmons’ HBO TV Deal does not cover his digital writing and he is likely to land another deal on that front. The sports columnist/TV host/NBA analyst/New York Times bestselling author/Emmy-Award-winning documentary film executive/podcaster previously served as an analyst on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, founding editor, columnist of “Sports Guy” for the past 14 years for ESPN, executive producer of the “30 for 30” documentary series, and host of the podcast “The B.S. Report,” (the #1 sports podcast on iTunes last year). Simmons began writing for in 2001, and starting in 2002, was the lead columnist for ESPN The Magazine for seven years. He also served as a writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC from 2002 to 2004…

…In other ESPN departure news, Colin Cowherd will also be leaving the network and is set to join Fox Sports. Cowherd is likely to have a regular presence on Fox Sports 1 and has confirmed he will have a simultcast of SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He is also rumored to be the positioned to host Fox’s new 11 a.m NFL show that will lead into the “NFL Sunday” pregame. (The Big Lead, Washington Post)…

…Longtime ESPN personalities and NFL studio show hosts Suzy Kolber and Trey Wingo have reached new long-term extensions to remain with the company. During the upcoming NFL season, both will expand their roles as part of their new deals.

Kolber, who joined ESPN in 1993, has been a sideline reporter on Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, as well as a studio host. This season, she becomes the new full-time host of ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show. The past year and a half, Kolber covered a majority of the games as her close friend and colleague Stuart Scott courageously battled cancer. Kolber will travel to the site of each week’s MNF game where she will appear alongside Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young. Kolber will continue to host weekday editions of ESPN’s NFL Insiders, the daily pro football show featuring veteran reporters and league insiders, including Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Bill Polian. She will also continue to be part of ESPN’s annual NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage.

Wingo, who joined ESPN in 1997, has been the face of NFL Live since it debuted in July 2003. He will continue to host the popular weekday afternoon news and information show, as well as the NFL PrimeTime highlights show on Mondays. A host on ESPN’s annual NFL Draft telecast and Super Bowl week shows – including conducting SportsCenter’s postgame interview with the Super Bowl MVP, Wingo will expand his role to include a new Sunday morning pregame show. This fall, ESPN is adding NFL Insiders: Sunday edition (10 a.m. ET) to its Sunday pro football lineup. Beginning September 13, Wingo will host the new one-hour show alongside Schefter, Mortensen and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick. The program will have all the latest information on NFL game days and will lead into Sunday NFL Countdown

…Analyst Joel Klatt joins play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson to become FOX Sports’ lead college football broadcast team this season. Klatt takes over for Charles Davis, who moves to the NFL on FOX. A standout quarterback who set 44 school records at Colorado from 2002 to 2005, Klatt teams with Johnson, who has served as FOX Sports’ lead college football play-by-play voice since joining the network in 2001, and sideline reporter Molly McGrath. Klatt has with FOX Sports since 2007 when he worked as a studio host for FOX Sports Southwest’s college football coverage. In 2009, he was assigned a package of games for FOX Sports Net, and in 2013, coinciding with the launch of FOX Sports 1, he moved to the national stage as a studio and game analyst for the network. Klatt has called Thursday and Friday college football games on FOX Sports 1 and worked in studio for college football pregame, halftime and postgame shows on FOX Sports 1 and FOX broadcast network. He has also covered the NFL, serving as the host of FOX Sports 1’s FOX NFL KICKOFF. Additionally, Klatt has enhanced his presence as a respected NFL Draft analyst and has been a regular contributor to FOX Sports 1’s flagship studio news programs AMERICA’S PREGAME and FOX SPORTS LIVE.

Having made his debut as a broadcaster in the booth for college football and NFL on FOX in 2014, former two-time Notre Dame All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist Brady Quinn, who set 36 school records while under center for the Fighting Irish, receives a full slate of college assignments this season and moves to the NFL booth once the collegiate season is complete. During the 2015 college season, Quinn teams with play by play announcer Joe Davis and sideline reporter Kris Budden.

Also returning to call games for FOX Sports this season is veteran college football and college basketball play-by-play broadcaster Tim Brando, who joined the network prior to the 2014 campaign.

Taking over for Klatt at the studio desk is Matt Leinart, a two-time All-American, national champion and Heisman Trophy winner (2004) at USC. Leinart becomes a permanent fixture on the FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREGAME, halftime and postgame shows, joining former NCAA and NFL head coach Dave Wannstedt and host Rob Stone in the studio. Leinart made his debut with FOX Sports in 2014, serving as an analyst on the Friday night college football preview show, FOX SPORTS LIVE: COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF.

College football insiders Bruce Feldman, Stewart Mandel and Clay Travis, analyst Petros Papadakis and rules expert Mike Pereira will also contribute to FOX Sports’ college football coverage…

…Host Rece Davis joining ESPN College GameDay this fall (replacing longtime hos Crhis Fowler) sets in motion several changes to ESPN’s college football studio coverage this fall with new roles for hosts Adnan Virk and Chris Cotter, as well as analysts Joey Galloway, Danny Kanell and Mark May. On College GameDay, Davis will be joined by familiar faces in analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, as well as contributors Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi and Gene Wojciechowski each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon ET on ESPN.

The ABC and ESPN studios will also see changes for 2015. John Saunders will continue to anchor Saturday’s ABC studio coverage, along with second-year analyst Mack Brown and 10-year ESPN analyst Mark May, who will make the switch from ESPN’s studio. ESPN’s new studio trio features host Adnan Virk with analysts Joey Galloway and Danny Kanell, who will handle pre-game, halftime and post-game reporting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the season.

Analysts Butch Davis and Robert Smith will again team up to add to ESPN2’s Saturday studio coverage with new host Chris Cotter. SEC Nation host and veteran play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore will return to Bristol, Conn., each Saturday night to host College Football Final Presented by AT&T following the conclusion of the day’s games. ESPNU’s studio shows from Charlotte will be hosted by Matt Schick and Brendan Fitzgerald, along with analysts Charles Arbuckle and Kevin Carter…

…ESPN New York 98.7FM has signed veteran New York City broadcaster Michael Kay to a three-year contract extension that will keep the longtime radio voice with the station through 2018. The successful team of Kay, host of The Michael Kay Show, and partner Don LaGreca has been an afternoon drive mainstay in New York since 2002. The Michael Kay Show will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network, as it has been since February 2014…

…Premier Boxing Champions returns in primetime this Saturday, July 25 at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN, at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., as Kenny Albert makes his network TV boxing debut as blow-by-blow announcer, joined by analysts “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Steve Cunningham, with Kenny Rice reporting from ring-side…

…Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN Analyst Mark Schlereth has launched his own podcast entitled The Stinkin’ Truth on PodcastOne. The weekly show will have his thoughts on the NFL, sports in general, and more (Radio Ink)…

… SiriusXM and Pro Football Focus have teamed up to create a new daily show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Hosted by Pro Football Focus Fantasy Director and Managing Editor Mike Clay, Pro Football Focus on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio debuts this week and will air every weekday from 10:00 to 11:00 am ET on satellite radios (XM channel 87, Sirius channel 210) on the SiriusXM app and online at  The show will feature regular contributions from former Pro Bowl wide receiver, Emmy award-winning broadcaster and Pro Football Focus analyst Cris Collinsworth, as well as other experts from the PFF staff.

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