ESPN is out of the pop culture business, which pushed former Grantland pop culture writers and podcasters out to the curb.
That direction was surely foreshadowed with the defection of Wesley Morris to the New York Times, Rembert Browne to New York magazine and editors Sean Fennessey, Juliet Litman, Mallory Rubin and Chris Ryan joining Bill Simmons at his new venture. But it became official when ESPN shuttered Grantland a week ago, announcing that contracts would be honored and likely keeping most of the site’s sportswriters in the mix, incorporating them into outlets like ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine.
Where would writers like Andy Greenwald and Alex Pappademas end up? Greenwald announced on Twitter that he was leaving anyway, gearing up to work on a book. But what about the pop culture podcasts that were so popular with the Grantland audience, notably Greenwald’s self-titled podcast and his “Hollywood Prospectus” collaboration with Ryan? That content would find a home somewhere, wouldn’t it?
Yes, it has. Greenwald hinted that news on his podcast was forthcoming (responding to Philadelphia Daily News writer Ryan Lawrence, who was laid off Wednesday), and sure enough, he made it official Thursday evening. Greenwald’s podcast is back, as is the podcast with Ryan, setting up shop with Bill Simmons’ new podcast playhouse.
It is with total delight, gratitude, and glee that I can announce I’ve joined my old friends over at Team @sptguy33 for all podcasting endeavors. THE ANDY GREENWALD PODCAST will return soon with fresh guests (though, I should warn you, the same host). And, starting in the next week or two, my pal Chris Ryan and I will debut our new show, THE WATCH WITH CHRIS & ANDY. We are so excited to get back to inflicting you all with our opinions on television, crime novels, and, crucially, Jeremy Renner liquor commercials. Break time is over, Baranskis. Time to hit the crisis suite.
Greenwald and Ryan reunited on the latest edition of The Bill Simmons Podcast, posted on Thursday, which basically gave listeners and fans a taste of what was to come. As Greenwald said in his Instagram post, his new show with Ryan, titled “The Watch” will roll out sometime in the next week or two. In the meantime, you can follow @TheWatchPod for updates.
Personally, I hope Morris and Pappademas are soon to follow Greenwald and Ryan by jumping into Simmons’ podcast sandbox. I was a big fan of “Do You Like Prince Movies?” and the deep discussions on movies, music, TV and writing those two would have.
Maybe we’ll get a reunion of “Girls in Hoodies” (with Emily Yoshida, Molly Lambert and Tess Lynch) in one form or another. Unfortunately, we almost certainly won’t be hearing “The Right Reasons” or “Food News” anymore, as Dave Jacoby has stayed on with ESPN (and has a new daily show on ESPN Radio with Jalen Rose) and thus can’t team up with Litman for podcasts.
But let’s not overlook the good news here. Grantland’s pop culture podcasts — which kind of got overlooked in all of the eulogies and think-pieces during the past week — and their excellent content are effectively back, just at a new home.