Grantland Exodus Includes Four to Bill Simmons' HBO Venture, One to MTV News
Four Grantland editors have resigned from ESPN to work for HBO's Bill Simmons, and another has left for MTV News. In a tweet posted Friday, writer James Andrew Miller first broke the news that four "highly regarded staffers" of the site had turned in their resignation letters and would be reuniting with their former editor-in-chief and Grantland founder, Simmons.
Sports Illustrated reports that the staff members who have left Grantland are Sean Fennessey, Juliet Litman, Mallory Rubin and Chris Ryan. Dan Fierman, Grantland's editorial director who co-founded the site with Simmons, has also left the site to oversee MTV News, where he will serve as vice president and editorial director.
"Dan is a top flight talent we've long admired for his ability to cut through and put something fresh, unique, and smart into the cultural conversation," said Kristin Frank, the executive vp of content for Viacom Music & Entertainment Group. "We've driven tremendous growth since relaunching MTV News a year ago and, with Dan on board, we're in a great position to sharpen our editorial point of view and connect with even more impact."
Simmons, formerly one of ESPN's biggest media personalities, parted ways with the network in May after ESPN decided against renewing his contract. He was subsequently forced to leave Grantland, the sports and pop-culture site he oversaw and launched in 2011.
In a recent episode of his podcast series, Simmons criticized the sports network for failing to give Grantland the support it needed to succeed during his time there. "I think all of us felt like these guys weren't trying to make us [at Grantland] succeed, which is a weird feeling when everyone is busting their ass," he said.
Simmons, who signed a megadeal with HBO in July, will launch his own weekly talk show in 2016 and produce content for the network and its digital platforms. It is unknown which upcoming projects Fennessey, Litman, Rubin and Ryan will joining as staff.
A version of this article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.