Bill Simmons’s show has been a ratings dud for HBO. (Chris Pizzello/Invision via Associated Press)

Bill Simmons’s new HBO show, “Any Given Wednesday,” has struggled to gain much of a foothold in its first season. The criticisms of it are varied: The format stinks; viewers have tired of his hackneyed Boston fanboy-isms; his style is better suited for print or podcast; what’s with all the Michael Rapaport?; he just isn’t very good on TV. Whatever the reason, the show has not been a success in the ratings department, and on Wednesday night far fewer people tuned in than ever before.

Only 82,000 people watched Simmons’s latest attempt at proving he’s a capable talk-show host, down more than 75 percent from the series’s second-episode high-water mark of 362,000 viewers in June. The following cable-sports shows garnered more television eyeballs Wednesday: “The Herd,” a midnight showing of “Sports Jeopardy,” “Undisputed,” an episode of “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN2 that began at 1:08 a.m., and something called “Linea de Cuatro” on Univision Deportes (also in the 1 a.m. hour).

Nearly twice as many viewers tuned in for that last one.

HBO has publicly backed Simmons in the wake of all the criticism and declining numbers, noting in August that the show is averaging 2.4 million weekly viewers when considering replays, DVR playbacks and viewings on HBO Go. But as Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News pointed out in a highly critical column about the show, HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” averages 4.4 million weekly viewers across all platforms, nearly twice what Simmons is drawing.

“[Simmons] is an authentic and unique voice. He is building a connection to the HBO subscriber base. We are excited to see the show unfold in the coming weeks and months,” an HBO spokesman told McCarthy in response to his column.

Apart from Ben Affleck’s salty Deflategate rant in the show’s premiere episode, there has been little viral chatter about anything that’s happened on “Any Given Wednesday.” Compare that with an HBO show like “Last Week Tonight,” where John Oliver’s monologues and bits often take on new life online as they get passed around (this despite their often patience-trying length). And there’s no comparison in the ratings department: Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” drew around 1.2 million viewers, and an episode in June drew 1.6 million, a series high for a show that’s only gaining steam in its third season.

To be fair, Oliver’s show is perfectly tailored to capture the morbid absurdity of this year’s presidential election. It’s a right-place, right-time kind of thing. Simmons is mostly talking about sports at a time when seemingly fewer people are tuning in to watch the most high-profile events: The NFL’s ratings struggles are well documented, and English Premier League numbers are following a similar downward trajectory across the pond. Plus, Simmons’s show also has gone up against Major League Baseball postseason games for its past two episodes, the most recent being Game 2 of a World Series that appears to be drawing interest from casual fans: This year’s Fall Classic has so far gotten its best TV ratings since 2009.

HBO reportedly is paying Simmons between $7 million and $9 million per year to host the show and advise the network on other programming initiatives; it also reportedly agreed to become a minority investor in the Bill Simmons Media Group, which produces podcasts from Simmons and others and also publishes the Ringer, Simmons’s attempt at a Grantland re-brand. Like “Any Given Wednesday,” the Ringer has yet to make much of a viral dent and has so far shown a tendency to be even more inscrutable than its predecessor sometimes was.

“It’s hard say much of anything about an HBO promotional leaflet with 946 editors that offers semi-ironic 10,000-word breakdowns of Capital One ads,” Deadspin’s Drew Magary wrote of the Ringer on Thursday, noting that Simmons has written exactly two articles for the site.

But considering how much HBO is paying him, Simmons is mostly going to be judged on whether “Any Given Wednesday” succeeds or fails. So far, the audience hasn’t been there, and the network executive who signed Simmons — former president of programming Michael Lombardo — has left HBO to become a producer. One has to wonder whether the network’s remaining executives will at some point soon say, “Yup, those are his viewers,” and pull the plug.