Music documentary

HBO and Bill Simmons team up for ’30 for 30′-Like music documentary series

HBO and Ringer’s Bill Simmons is teaming up for a series of documentaries about the world of music, taking a similar approach to what Simmons did with sports documentaries in ESPN. 30 for 30 series.

The six-part series will ask six filmmakers to explore pivotal moments or milestones in an artist’s career, iconic albums, or broader looks at the music industry. Simmons’ Ringer Films will produce, with Simmons serving as executive producer with Polygram Entertainment and Universal Music Publishing Group executives Jody Gerson and Marc Cimino.

“It was a dream of mine to put this project together,” Simmons said in a statement Wednesday. “It wasn’t until I started working with Jody and Marc that the potential started to seem real. We see an opportunity to elevate the form of storytelling with music documentaries, just as 30 for 30 changed the landscape of sports documentaries at the end of the last decade. We don’t want to make music documentaries that only cover the beginning, middle and end of someone’s career. We think there is another way to do it. And we want to work with the best possible directors, talented filmmakers who have the same passion as us for this project. I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge. Being able to explore that with HBO is like the icing on the cake.

HBO was an initial investor in The ring, and Simmons signed a new contract with the high-end cable company in 2018. Ringer Films produced the documentary Andrew the Giant for HBO and is working on a second project, Showbiz Kids, directed and produced by Alex Winter (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).

“We’ve been working with Bill for a long time and we’re thrilled he came to HBO with this idea,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming. “We look forward to working with him and the team at The Ringer to shed light on many fascinating artists and moments that have shaped the music industry.”

Gerson, president and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, added, “This series tells stories for musicians in a way that has never really been done before. There are countless great artists and songwriters who have stories that define their culture and, for the first time, we can share them intimately with fans around the world. Marc and I have been big fans of Bill’s talent for storytelling for a long time, and we’re thrilled to partner with him, The Ringer, HBO and Polygram Entertainment on this special project that will share the culturally defining stories of artists and songwriters.

The as-yet-untitled HBO project is set to air in 2021. No director or subject has been named.

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