Is Skip Bayless Returning To ESPN?
Is Skip Bayless returning to ESPN?
Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, two of the most polarizing figures in sports talk, hosted First Take together from 2012 to 2016.
During that time, the pair revolutionized sports debate in a way that nobody had since Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser with Pardon The Interruption.
In 2016, Fox offered Bayless a four-year, $25 million offer in hopes of attracting more attention for FS1.
Bayless left the Worldwide Leader at that point and First Take ultimately rebuilt the show around Smith and Max Kellerman.
In an effort to spruce up its ratings, executives moved First Take from ESPN 2 to the main ESPN channel after Bayless’ departure.
Bayless, meanwhile, teamed up with Shannon Sharpe on Undisputed on the up-and-coming FS1.
Undisputed averages somewhere between 150,000 to 180,000 daily viewers while First Take earns somewhere between 400,000 to 500,000.
According to Front Office Sports, a reunion between Bayless and Smith may be brewing.
“They both want to make it happen,” a source told Front Office Sports.
“I’m just not sure ESPN will hit Fox’s number.”
And apparently the messaging for this move is already being discussed.
“The way [ESPN] would position this is they’re taking ‘First Take’ to ‘another level,’” another source told FOS.
“Nobody thinks Stephen A. and Max are a match made in heaven. Same for Skip and Shannon. Put (Stephen A. and Skip) back together again.”
Will this reunion ultimately come to fruition?
We’ll likely find out at some point in the next year.