Skip Bayless Talking Less Has Proven To Be A Goldmine For Fox Sports 1’s ‘Undisputed’

Getty Image

Fox Sports 1 morning show ‘Undisputed’ looks a little bit different these days than it has in the past.

Gone is Shannon Sharpe. In stepped Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Richard Sherman. And out of the spotlight is longtime host Skip Bayless.

That last bit hasn’t been lost of fans, who took the opportunity to roast Bayless for taking a back seat on his own show.

Even Bayless’ longtime friend and former co-host Stephen A. Smith got in on the fun.

But Smith might want to wait a little while before declaring victory.

On Friday, Fox Sports 1 debuted NFL Insider Josina Anderson.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that the move led to a huge jump in ratings for the show, and that ‘Undisputed’ is actually closing the gap to ESPN’s ‘First Take.’

“But on Friday, with NFL Insider Josina Anderson making her debut, ‘Undisputed’ pulled 126,000 viewers vs. 307,000 for “First Take” — the second-biggest TV audience for Bayless since he returned from a two-month hiatus on Aug. 28, with a new cast including Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Richard Sherman,” McCarthy wrote.

Additionally, Smith’s ‘First Take’ dropped from 326,000 viewers to 307,000.

And while that’s still a significant margin between the two shows, it also represents a large gain for FS1 and large fall off for ESPN.

But McCarthy says that one week of ratings doesn’t tell us a ton about either show, and that one key factor could lead to Bayless’ resurgence.

“It’s difficult to draw conclusions from one week of ratings,” he said. “Especially since the new NFL season won’t kick off until Thursday night.

“Part of the reason for the 71-year-old Bayless’ nine TV lives is his support of the Dallas Cowboys. The first win, or loss, by America’s Team could drive “Undisputed Live” viewership into the 200K-plus range.”

Are we finally out of the Skip Bayless Era of sports talk shows? Or is this just the start of something new for the longtime host?