Harry Gerard "H. G." Bissinger III, also known as Buzz Bissinger (born November 1, 1954), is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, best known for his non-fiction book Friday Night Lights. He is the former host of The Buzz Bissinger Show on CBS Radio's Philadelphia Talk/News station, Talk Radio 1210 (WPHT-AM); he resigned from that position in December 2012.
Early life and education
Bissinger is the son of Eleanor (née Lebenthal) and Harry Gerard Bissinger II. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1972 and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976, where he was a sports and opinion editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He is the cousin of Peter Berg, who directed the adaptation of Bissinger's book Friday Night Lights.
In 1998 his article "Shattered Glass", an exposé of the career of New Republic writer Stephen Glass, was published in the magazine Vanity Fair, where he is a contributing editor. The article was later adapted for the 2003 film of the same name.
His magazine work has also appeared in the New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Bissinger's article for Vanity Fair, "Gone with the Wind" (August 2007), about the saga of 2006 Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro, has been optioned by Universal Pictures. Bissinger's most recent article in Vanity Fair, "Inventing Ford Country" (March 2009) details the role Monument Valley played in the birth of American cinema.
In 2008, Bissinger wrote "The Throwback," an online sports column for The New York Times.
Buzz is currently a columnist at The Daily Beast.
Using the name "Buzz Boy," he hosted a daily radio talk show on WPHT Philadelphia 1210 with Steve "Steve Man" Martorano.
Bissinger is perhaps best known for his book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, which documents the 1988 season of the football team of Permian High School in Odessa, Texas. This work was the inspiration for the 1993 television series Against the Grain, and was turned into a successful film (which was released in October 2004), and a television series which debuted on NBC on October 3, 2006. The book has sold nearly two million copies. In a list of the one hundred best books on sports ever, Sports Illustrated ranked Friday Night Lights fourth and the best ever on football. ESPN called Friday Night Lights the best book on sports over the past quarter-century.
A Prayer for the City, published in 1998, offers insight into the urban political scene of Philadelphia during Mayor (who later became the Governor of Pennsylvania until 2011) Ed Rendell's term in the 1990s.
The New York Times' bestselling Three Nights in August, published in 2005, chronicles a series in August 2003 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs through the perspective of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
Shooting Stars was published by Penguin Press in September 2009. The book, co-authored with basketball superstar LeBron James, tells the story of James' high school career where he and his four best friends won a championship in basketball. As part of the promotion of Shooting Stars, Bissinger appeared as a "Guest Commenter" on a Deadspin post on Oct. 1, 2009.
In April 2012 Bissinger released After Friday Night Lights, a sequel to Friday Night Lights which focuses on Bissinger's relationship with James "Boobie" Miles, a major character in his first book.
Father's Day, published in May 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a memoir that revolves around a singular cross-country road trip taken with one of his twin sons, Zach, a savant.
Bissinger is married to Lisa C. Smith, former Assistant Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, and has three sons. He divides his time between homes in Philadelphia and the Pacific Northwest.
In a column published in GQ, Bissinger states he is a shopaholic with an obsession for expensive designer clothes, spending $638,412.97 between 2010 and 2012. In the same column, Bissinger stated he had questioned his sexuality in the past and had experimented with men.
- "Buzz Bissinger Leaves 1210 AM WPHT Radio Gig". The Philly Post. January 1, 2012.
- "Paid Notice: Deaths BISSINGER, HARRY GERARD II". The New York Times. October 29, 2001.
- "Sarah Whiting Macdonald Is Married To H. G. Bissinger 3d in Massachusetts". The New York Times. February 12, 1989.
- "Phillips Academy - Notable Alumni: Short List". Philips Academy. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Bookwire Author Profile Buzz Bissinger". [www.bookwire.com]. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "The B/R Interview: H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- "'Friday Night Lights' Author Slams Peter Berg's Letter to Mitt Romney: 'Uninformed and Offensive'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Bissinger, Buzz (October 20, 2009). "Gone Like the Wind | Culture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- Bissinger, Buzz (October 20, 2009). "Buzz Bissinger on Monument Valley | Culture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- Bissinger, Buzz (July 26, 2008). "All-Stars and Layoffs". The New York Times.
- "Buzz Bissinger joins Steve Martorano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT". philly.com. June 10, 2012.
- "Shooting Stars | Written by Lebron James and Buzz Bissinger". Buzzbissinger.com. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- "Book Excerpts That Don't Suck: Shooting Stars". Deadspin.com. October 1, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- Bissinger, Buzz (March 2013). "My Gucci Addiction". GQ. Retrieved 25 March 2013.