Say what you about their authenticity, or lack thereof. But Skip Bayless and Stepehen A. Smith are two of the most-compelling personalities on sports television today.
The former ESPN colleagues have since gone their separate ways.
Smith dominates the morning show scene for ESPN on First Take, while Bayless and Shannon Sharpe rule the airwaves over at Fox Sports on Undisputed.
They don’t always, or even often make much sense with their takes. Their histrionics often land them in hot water not only with viewers, but with co-workers as well. But the numbers don’t lie, and the numbers show that people tune in to see what Smith and Bayless are going to say next.
And it the latest reports have any truth to them, viewers may only have to tune into one place in the future to see them both. Because sports media’s biggest odd couple may well be getting the band back together.
Stephen A. Smith And Skip Bayless Could Team Up For Independent Media Venture
Michael McCarthy (of no relation to the Dallas Cowboys head coach) of Front Office Sports reports that Bayless and Smith have held talks about a reunion after their current contracts expire.
The “end game” for Smith and his “brother from another mother,” Skip Bayless, could be to launch their own show on a platform like YouTube, sources told Front Office Sports.
All of the major talents in sports media have taken note of the way Pat McAfee has created his own empire via his eponymous show on Google’s YouTube and wide-ranging content deal with FanDuel.
McCarthy noted that the two pushed for a reunion recently and have repeatedly opened the door to doing so.
Despite Bayless jumping to rival FS1 in 2016, the dueling hosts of “First Take” and “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” remain close friends. They’ve spoken publicly about reuniting.
During his last contract negotiation, Bayless admitted Smith pushed his ESPN bosses to reunite the duo on the ESPN+ streaming platform before returning to linear TV.
It didn’t work out. Instead, according to Bayless, his bosses at FS1 matched ESPN’s written offer — and even sweetened the pot. But there’s always next time.
Losing Smith would be a massive blow to ESPN and likewise Bayless for Fox Sports. But it sure sounds like that’s a real possibility for the two sports network giants.