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The W - Movies & TV - ESPN kills Grantland
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StaggerLee
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Since: 3.10.02
From: Right side of the tracks

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.01
http://observer.com/2015/10/espn-cancels-grantland/

http://grantland.com/

Somewhat out of nowhere, ESPN announces they are no longer publishing Grantland. Bill Simmons must be relieved.

(edited by StaggerLee on 1.11.15 1947)
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EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    Somewhat out of nowhere, ESPN announces they are no longer publishing Grantland. Bill Simmons must be relieved.


I don't think relieved is the right word. From what I understand, he didn't want anyone he hired to lose their job, but he also led four editors in a sudden mass exodus that both effectively served as an act of sabotage to cut off any veteran leadership at the site and force ESPN's hand to kill it. That said, ESPN's been hard up for money after buying NFL and NBA rights, and extraneous content like Grantland was anticipated to be on the chopping block.

It seems that at least a few of the non-sports writers saw the writing on the wall and started looking for other jobs (Wesley Morris, Rembert), while the sports content should easily be absorbed back into the mothership. Personally, I'm curious what happens to the NFL podcast, as I've like Barnwell since his days at Football Outsiders, and relevant here is the fate of Cheap Heat. Wrestling seems to straddle the sports-entertainment well enough that I saw somewhere Shoemaker recently just renewed his contract with ESPN. I'd like to see the podcast continue, but if not, I would expect at least a weekly wrestling column buried somewhere at ESPN.

I've seen enough sites (or site staff) free themselves from their shortsighted corporate overlords and then turn around and develop their revenue in all the ways they weren't before. Even Simmons has talked about how he's getting enough advertising just for his new podcast to have been comparable to what Grantland as a whole was making. It'd be interesting if he tried to rebuilt Grantland from the ground up, but I think he's tied up with his HBO show such that it will be his baby for now.

Grantland wasn't perfect, but it certainly seemed to fill a niche for a certain type of journalism. Its probably better that ESPN shuttered it now than let a new wave of lesser talent come in with a possibly weaker vision to dilute it and let it slowly wither.



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thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.43
I think this is all my fault forgetting the seatgeek coupon codes last month.

The "Simmons signing the four editors doomed Grantland" story came from Deadspin, which seems to have long had an ax to grind against Simmons and makes me skeptical of the story. But they definitely had a talent drain going on from the moment they broke with Simmons, it was going to rough to staff back up, and it's kind of understandable they'd want to just to move on if they had been feeling iffy about that thing - they just cut about 5% of their workforce last week, it's hard to make those cuts and keep something you're not committed to.

But - they should've been committed to Grantland. It had a lot of great content. ESPN clearly fired Simmons in a rash decision, had no plan in place for a post Simmons future (even though they were sure he was leaving for months) and never came up with one they could sell to the public. The talent drain leading to the death happened because there were months of rumors of the death coming and ESPN didn't really do anything to stop the rumors. This is the outcome they were passively encouraging.

(Shoemaker said he got a two year contract on the SI Media podcast and seemed to feel secure in his future. If ESPN is really 'getting out of pop culture', then I don't know what he does for a year and nine months. But they're not getting out of pop culture. The podcast was looking for a new home, last I checked on Twitter.)

Those editors who jumped seemed to be jumping for something besides the HBO show. There's probably a Grantland 2.0, with some old people and some new, coming soon. It probably wasn't meant to be announced quite yet. Maybe it'll be on Monday.

I really liked the NFL podcast - so fortunate that their (seemingly) no podcast today protest ended just in time for them to get one more week in - and I thought Zach Lowe had become an outstanding podcast host in a really short period of time. I really hope ESPN finds another home for them.



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EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
    Originally posted by thecubsfan
    The "Simmons signing the four editors doomed Grantland" story came from Deadspin


You can probably source any facts I referenced to my recollection of what I read in the Deadspin piece (deadspin.com). I can see how Simmons would want to stealth steal everyone he could at once, but at the same time, he does seem like he would genuinely be considered about the team he previously assembled. I can only imagine for as much as he wanted to hurt ESPN, he didn't expect the turn around to come this quickly.


    I really liked the NFL podcast - so fortunate that their (seemingly) no podcast today protest ended just in time for them to get one more week in - and I thought Zach Lowe had become an outstanding podcast host in a really short period of time. I really hope ESPN finds another home for them.


My only concern would be the podcast being put behind a paywall (or even any of Barnwell's content, though I haven't had time to read it as much as I'd like.) I didn't know they were protesting anything last week. I just assumed that scheduling issues and life were affecting their ability to record. I listen to too many amateur podcasts to realize that professionals are expected to record their shows on a regular basis.





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@WookieeBH
Big Bad
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Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.82
ESPN created Grantland solely for Simmons, and tolerated it as long as he stayed in the loop. Once he left, it was just a matter of time before the site was closed down, and probably the only reason it wasn't done immediately because ESPN needed time to figure out the paperwork for the rest of the staff.



George Michael weighed his options. Maeby had chastised him for not taking risks, and what would be a bigger risk than perpetuating a lie about software just to ignite the passions of a woman? Of course it would be a lie, and since Maeby wouldn't know it was a lie, he wouldn't appear to be taking a risk. Perhaps the bigger risk was to tell his father he was lying, that he came up with it because he wanted his father to leave so he could enjoy what remained of his senior year. After all, he wondered, wouldn't that be the course of action taken by an overtly sexual man, a man who owns a pair of matador pants? He had not responded now for 41 seconds according to his unfailing internal clock, and it was time to come clean.
StaggerLee
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Since: 3.10.02
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.01
    Originally posted by Big Bad
    ESPN created Grantland solely for Simmons, and tolerated it as long as he stayed in the loop. Once he left, it was just a matter of time before the site was closed down, and probably the only reason it wasn't done immediately because ESPN needed time to figure out the paperwork for the rest of the staff.


Check out Simmons' podcast regarding his departure from ESPN. He was frustrated and got zero support (according to him) for months before all the crap started to be publicized by the network.

He also chided ESPN for not even trying to get sponsors for his podcast(claiming there was no people wanting to sponsor the show), saying it was pretty much a non effort for him when he began his new one, and they were lining up when they announced his new podcast.

The notion that's out there that Simmons was just dumped and left on his own is silly.

He said ESPN made his job difficult and that he was spending more time battling the office than acting as a director of the website.
JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.09
This is more than worth it just to eradicate everything written by the Masked Man from cyber-space.
pieman
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Since: 11.12.01
From: China, Maine

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.67


There are quite a few writers that I read on Grantland that I hope to land where I can continue reading them. Zach Lowe is at the top of that list. His writings spanned the details of plays, defenses, pick and rolls, etc., to the best court designs and logos/mascots. I will miss him terribly if he's not picked up somewhere.



El Nastio
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Since: 14.1.02
From: Ottawa Ontario, by way of Walkerton

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.12
I'm disappointed because Grantland had the best analysts in baseball (Jonah Keri), basketball (Zach Lowe), football (Bill Barnwell & Robert Mays) - in Keri's and Lowe's case there isn't even a debate, they are THE best at those sports. They also had Kirk Goldsberry, who is on the frontier of advanced statistics and analysis across several sports.

Another of the reasons why this is impacting me on an emotive level is I love writing in longform regardless of the topic, and Grantland was *the* home for longform in sports. It's a sha,e it'll be gone.

Sad that ESPN would do this, almost entirely out of wounded pride due to Simmons leaving.

    Originally posted by pieman
    There are quite a few writers that I read on Grantland that I hope to land where I can continue reading them. Zach Lowe is at the top of that list. His writings spanned the details of plays, defenses, pick and rolls, etc., to the best court designs and logos/mascots. I will miss him terribly if he's not picked up somewhere.


Zach Lowe is going to be THE biggest free agent in sportswriting when his contract is up. He's highly respected by both his peers and readership, and exceptionally talented. Jonah Keri will be right behind him.



"You can't put a price on integrity"
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.43
weird things

a) the zombie podcast feed still sending out episodes of Jacoby and Jalen (and one Jonah Keri farewell) as if nothing has happened

b) that the Lowe's, Barnwell's, etc just weren't immediately transported over to the various ESPN sport sites. Maybe they're just giving them some time to decompress, but if ESPN is really honoring their contracts, and they're as eager to write or talk about something as they seem on Twitter, why not bring them on ASAP if you're running one of those individual sport sections?



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EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
Jacoby and Jalen were picked up by ESPN official, so I don't think there's been any change in their scheduling, they probably just need to migrate their feed over the ESPN Podcenter proper. (Is it still called that?)

As for Lowe and Barnwell, my guess is that its all beuraucratic. You can bring writers over, but they need editors, and who knows if they have the manpower to start reviewing those additional writers just yet? Plus, who knows what deals were cut regarding page placement on the site and such. If a Barnwell peice goes into the rotation, something else gets knocked out. I wouldn't be surprised if its going to take them a week or so to get their ducks in a row, assuming that no one outside of upper management saw this coming.



Mash Those Buttons -- by gamers, for gamers, about gamers gaming (mashthosebuttons.com)


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@WookieeBH
EddieBurkett
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Since: 3.1.02
From: GA in person, NJ in heart

Since last post: 5 days
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
The latest episode of Simmons podcast has him chatting with another Grantland co-founder, Malcolm Gladwell, in which they discuss the site's fate. Its interesting in that Simmons lets Gladwell play the heavy, so he can seem like he's being fair to ESPN. He does mention that he felt responsible for the 50+ employees, which sounds sincere, but he also downplays the effect of hijacking the three editors & Juliet. Obviously, its only half the story, and a biased half at that.

The most interesting part I thought was when he blamed his 6 hour marathon recording session with Jalen for why the Goodell soundbite was left in the podcast, that seemed to start this whole thing. He alludes to being overworked at that point, but I can't tell if that's a theory he retroactively developed, or if he planned to leave the Goodell rant as some sort of cry for help that backfired terribly. (Although, one can certainly argue the end result is that ESPN is not working him to the bone anymore.)



Mash Those Buttons -- by gamers, for gamers, about gamers gaming (mashthosebuttons.com)


WoW! Thoughts! (mashthosebuttons.com)

@WookieeBH
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Couldn't agree more with the Emmy for Katey Sagal ... she's totally shed that Peg Bundy stereotype with this role. I love how a lot of things were wrapped up (i.e Opie getting his closure, Chibbs getting his revenge on Jimmy, etc.).
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