If the bigwigs at ESPN had their way, they’d take over March Madness from CBS and TNT, clone Dick Vitale, and stick him in the booth for every game involving an ACC team. Fortunately, ESPN does not always get its way, nor do they have a lab full of mad scientists (at least that we know of). Thus, every March, the folks in Bristol are stuck on the outside looking in on the Big Dance. Until now (sort of). Enter Evil Genius Bill Simmons, who has concocted a plan to infiltrate tournament coverage, by providing some coverage of his own.
Simmons and his merry band of Grantlanders — Jalen Rose, Rembert Browne, (probably) David Jacoby, (hopefully) Adam Carolla — will participate in what is essentially a walking, talking version of Grantland Live, the Twitter feed they fire up for major sports events. However, the goal is not to compete with live in-game coverage, but provide pre- and post-game commentary on a wide range of subjects that the networks likely won’t be discussing (translation: gambling talk, and lots of it). From an e-mail sent to All Things Digital:
We want this to feel like a looser, more irreverent studio show. Like a live podcast where people feel like they are hanging out with us while watching basketball. I have no idea if this will work but we like trying new things at Grantland. … the only way we know if something will be successful is by trying. We will talk about things that I assure you none of the traditional shows will be talking about. Office pools, gambling picks, what we are eating, etc. I can also promise you no other studio show has their mother cooking all day Thursday an Italian feast for everyone to eat on Friday’s shows.
At the end of the day this really is just a convoluted way of getting ESPN to pay me to watch basketball with my friends. Oh — and now I can write off part of my man cave on my taxes.”
Now, we know what you’re thinking: after we’ve finally figured out how to show four games at once (thanks, staggered starts and Turner!) and not miss a second of game action, this is one more thing to juggle. That is exactly what it is, even though Simmons promises they won’t break into the games live, unless a situation warrants it. Let’s just say we envision a lot of those “situations”.