NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If Bill Simmons ends up at Time Warner's (TWX) HBO, then the tagline "It's not TV. It's HBO" no longer applies.
The new tagline ought to read: "It's HBO and it's game over."
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Simmons is apparently in discussions to head over to New York-based HBO on what THR is calling "a major multipart deal." What that means is anybody's guess, but given Simmons likely compensation (his salary at Walt Disney's (DIS) ESPN was reported to be $5 million annually), HBO will want to give the opinionated and entertaining television personality a high profile .
Perhaps Simmons will work up a television show or two, a mini-series, or his own website -- similar to what he built with Grantland, the online platform owned by ESPN.
Simmons is often credited with bringing the fan's perspective to sports writing, and remaking it for the Internet. Writing from Boston some 20 years ago as the self-proclaimed Sports Guy, Simmons changed the way readers looked at sports writers.
He infused jokes, gifs, YouTube clips into his column, told uproarious stories of trips to Las Vegas, of rubbing elbows with the famous and not-so-famous, and taking jabs at athletes accustomed to being treated like demi-gods. Simmons' writing came across as something anyone could do, but that was part of his charm -- very few can do that well.
Though still unconfirmed at this time, judging by the initial reaction on social media, it's clear getting Simmons would be a huge coup for HBO CEO Richard Plepler. An HBO spokesman couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
A John Oliver/Bill Simmons block on HBO would be a very interesting pairing.— Matt Marcotte (@MattMarcotte) June 17, 2015
Bill Simmons at HBO makes way too much sense. https://t.co/JrdcSxue31— pavan rajam (@pavanrajam) June 17, 2015
Few in the media world have as much an impact as Simmons does, with his 4 million Twitter followers and the ability to up-end an industry, as he has done.
HBO has more than 100 million subscribers around the world who pay for content such as Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Silicon Valley and a host of other shows. Putting Simmons on Real Sports, giving him his own late night talk show to go along with Oliver or a plethora of other ideas would appeal to an audience starving and most importantly, willing to pay, for good content.
With the recent launch of HBO Now, the company's over-the-top streaming service, it makes even more sense for Simmons to go to HBO. Not only would this expand his popularity, but HBO needs to keep adding fresh content which would attract those who don't have a cable bill and don't get HBO. Making Simmons a key component of its TV show lineup is all the more reason to subscribe and pay $14.99 a month.
I subscribe to HBO and I'm 100% certain I would not only keep my HBO subscription, but watch the channel even more than I already do simply because Simmons would have a presence. It's that big a deal.
Judging by the reaction, it appears I'm not alone.