Bill Simmons’ hoops hour will tip onto TV on Thursday night.
ESPN will bow The Grantland Basketball Hour on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. (ET). The initial Grantland-branded show will feature editor-in-chief Simmons and ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose. They will be joined by guests Michelle Beadle, the worldwide leader’s lead NBA game analyst Jeff Van Gundy and Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers. The five will size up an array of NBA topics ahead of the 2014-15 campaign before a studio audience at ESPN’s Los Angeles production center.
All told, there will be up to 18 one-hour primetime Grantland Basketball specials throughout the NBA season and The Finals. Additional episodes are planned for the NBA Draft and free-agency period.
“We are delighted to bring the Grantland brand to television – it's the natural evolution for our site and for everything Jalen and I have been doing on our video channel,” Simmons said in a release. “We want to be creative, we want to be unpredictable and we want to stand out.”
In addition to airing on ESPN, the show will encore on ESPN2 and ABC, with segments also featured on Grantland.com and integrated within ESPN platforms, including SportsCenter. Thursday’s premiere episode will re-air on ABC on Saturday, Oct., 25 at 2 p.m.
Following a suspension, Simmons was recently reinstated to ESPN following critical remarks he made about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stemming from the Rice Ray domestic violence incident.
While Grantland makes the jump to TV, Simmons’ seat on the NBA Countdown roster will remain empty this year as ESPN/ABC will go with a primary three-person team of Sage Steele, Doug Collins and Rose on Fridays and Sundays.
The trio of ESPN NBA insider Doris Burke and analysts Avery Johnson and Rose will return for their second Countdown campaign on Wednesdays.