Bill Simmons’ ‘Grantland’ Heir Is Chris Connelly — For Now

Filling the shoes of Bill Simmons, the outspoken and outsize ESPN sports personality, is no easy task, but ESPN is going to try.

The Disney-owned sports-media juggernaut named veteran culture and sports journalist Chris Connelly as the interim editor of “Grantland,” the sports and cultural commentary site Simmons led and founded in 2011. Simmons recently left ESPN as the result of a growing rift between the popular editorial staffer and the company that employed him.

Bill Simmons had the vision to create ‘Grantland,’ and his leadership, ideas and inspiration made it singularly great,” Connelly said in a statement provided by ESPN. “I’m looking forward to helping the writers, editors and producers on this amazingly talented staff create more of the outstanding work for which they’ve rightly become known.”

Connelly’s face has appeared on Disney-owned properties for some time. He has worked for ESPN since 2001. He has served as a consulting producer for ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” documentary series, and was part of the team to prototype ESPN the Magazine prior to its launch. Before joining, Connelly spent more than a dozen years at MTV, where he was a host and interviewer specializing in movies,and a correspondent for MTV News. He will continue to contribute stories and reporting to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and “E:60,” and to report for ABC News programs including “20/20.”

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