Inside Bomani Jones’ HBO Journey to ‘Game Theory’


Intrigued by “Game Theory” from the start, Bomani Jones knew it would be a good fit for the HBO project, but wanted to make sure all parties were aligned with their vision.

“The guys that had created the show, they had signed a pilot deal with HBO with somebody else who was attached to it, and something happened and that person wasn’t working on the show anymore, and then they went to get another person and they reached out to me. I got on Zoom with them and they sent me the dek for the show, and the dek was very clearly meant for a comedian,” Jones told the Post on Tuesday. .

“I read it and said, ‘Hey, the first thing I have to say is that I’m not a comedian. I wasn’t going into this with the idea that I was going to make you want to do this, okay, it had to be something that was going to be good for me. So I said, ‘Look, I’m not an actor, but I’m the perfect person for this show.’ Like, if you could rework the show around me, I think that’s going to be the best thing that can happen to you.

Starting Sunday, Jones will begin the next chapter of his fledgling career with “Game Theory,” HBO’s late-night six-episode series that will break down current issues that transcend the world of sports. Although the trust of the show’s masterminds was sold to Jones early on, the timing of events was unique,

Bomani Jones to host HBO’s new late-night series ‘Game Theory’
Courtesy of HBO

“Where it got interesting with HBO was shortly after they agreed to put me on the show with Bob Costas,” Jones said of “Back On the Record with Bob Costas. “, where he is a current contributor.

“On this show, I bring the perspective on sports, I bring all that brains and all that stuff out there, okay, so you imagine you’re HBO and they’re like, ‘hey, a super smart guy who can talk about the real issues in the sport, now you telling me you want him to replace the funny guy we just had here? That’s, naturally for HBO, they weren’t sure “, he continued. “And so, they finally agreed to me doing the pilot, we had conversations back and forth, and a lot of the executives were on site when we shot the pilot, and then they been sold, they just needed to see it.”

The show itself will feature interviews both in the New York studio and on location, as well as an expanded segment based on an opinion Jones wishes to share. Sunday’s episode will include a one-on-one interview with Stephen A. Smith, as well as an in-depth look at the legacy of Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is expected to retire at the end of the season. .

“We’re going to have a more in-depth essay on each episode, now obviously this has echoes of what you see on ‘Last Week Tonight’ [hosted by John Oliver]but where theirs are a little bit more explanatory, explanatory in the way they go about it, what we’re really going to do is take a position that I have or an opinion that I have, and then we want to illustrate this with all the tools we have during this,” he said.

Jones, who also hosts ESPN’s “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” podcast, also turned to “Last Week Tonight’s” Oliver for advice on how to steer this new ship.

“It’s all new to me, I’ve never been to this place, so I had questions like how to support the staff and how to be the person overseeing all of this, and he was very helpful,” said Jones. “I spoke to Stephen Colbert about some things and he was very helpful in figuring that out as well.”

Jones began his writing career in 2004 as a music and pop culture critic and moved to radio four years later, hosting two shows in Raleigh. He then launched “The Evening Jones with Bomani Jones” podcast in 2011, followed by the weekly internet series “Bomani & Jones” with SB Nation a year later. In 2013, Jones became the co-host of ESPN’s “Highly Questionable,” which he starred alongside Dan Le Batard, gaining valuable insights during his time on the show.

“Working with Dan on ‘Highly Questionable’, for example, I was able to sit at the altar of a master interviewer. I learned how to talk to people on TV working with him,” said Jones, who also hosted the former ESPN series, “High Noon.”

"Game Theory with Bomani Jones" premieres on Sunday, March 13, 2022
“Game Theory with Bomani Jones” premieres Sunday, March 13, 2022
Courtesy of HBO

Excited about what lies ahead, Jones can’t wait to share this new experience with his talented “Game Theory” team.

“I’m thrilled that we get the chance to do six episodes of a show like this on HBO,” he said. “I think people get jobs in general, but even jobs like this specifically, and they see it as a referendum on themselves. They look at what they’re doing and they’re like, ‘Well, what does it mean if they don’t understand it? What does it mean if it’s not good’ or so on and so on, and I see it like, ‘Hey man, we have a chance.’ No matter what, in the end, we’ll all have done six episodes of TV for HBO.

“Game Theory with Bomani Jones” airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.

New York Post

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