Few Prospects Willing to Work With Skip Bayless After Shannon Sharpe Split, Says New Report
Fox Sports 1 may struggle to find another suitable opponent for Skip Bayless on its hit debate show Undisputed.
On Wednesday evening, the New York Post reported that FS1 agreed to a buyout with Shannon Sharpe, Bayless’ current counterpart on the show. Sharpe’s final episode will be after the 2023 NBA Finals.
According to sources that spoke to Front Office Sports, the departure of Sharpe will create a vacancy that very few want due to Bayless’ controlling nature.
“Nothing happens on that show without Skip,” one source said. “They chose Skip over everything else. You can’t tweet about him, talk about him, anything — or they call you into the office. On Undisputed, he makes all the calls, even when he’s off.”
Following the immense success of ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith, Bayless struck gold once again with Undisputed. Sources told FOS he considers him the “Godfather of Embrace Debate,” referencing the mantra that led to the creation of modern sports debate shows.
Because of this, Bayless is expected to have the final say on who will replace Sharpe. They also said Bayless won’t work with someone that could possibly “overshadow” him.”
“Skip is not going to hire anybody who challenges him – and he’s going to make the hire,” the source continued. “So it’s a crazy deal.
“And here’s the kicker: you have to be willing to work with Skip, you’re going to have to put up with some shit, he has to approve of you. And you have to get up at 3:30 in the morning.”
When the news broke that Sharpe would be leaving the show, observant Twitter users noticed Sharpe liked a series of tweets hinting at the reason for his departure. One of those tweets implied Bayless didn’t like the idea of Sharpe’s rising popularity rivaling his own.
Others also speculated there was a rift between the two when Bayless took personal shots at Sharpe’s career in defense of Tom Brady. A few weeks later, things got personal again when Sharpe took exception to a tweet of Bayless’ about Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field. Sharpe did not come in to work the morning after, but showed up the morning after that. While explaining why he took offense to the tweet, Sharpe grew frustrated with Bayless repeatedly cutting him off.
Another source confirmed that rift to FOS and said things were at an “all-time low” between the two.
“That totally crossed the line for Shannon,” they said.
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