There haven’t been any new episodes of Fox Sports 1’s ‘Undisputed’ since Shannon Sharpe left the show and there won’t be any new episodes until the end of August, as Skip Bayless announced Thursday. There is reportedly a reason for that.
Sharpe and Bayless were on the air together for seven years, with decent ratings success if you can excuse the occasional hiccup. Finding a person willing to go toe-to-toe with Bayless every weekday was bound to be a challenge, but it now appears to be a long-term problem for the network.
The potential successors mentioned by FOS were Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman, both recently laid off by ESPN, as well as Fox Sports 1’s LeSean McCoy, Nick Wright, Emmanuel Acho and Joy Taylor.
Despite “Undisputed” being a flagship show for FS1, there is reportedly a hesitancy among the candidates to partner with Bayless, especially when the longtime professional opinion-haver has final say on all internal decisions for the show. It’s hard to walk into the arena every day when your opponent is pulling the strings and getting more money.
Bayless reportedly hasn’t been enjoying the experience:
“Shannon’s exit moved way faster than they expected. So they had no choice but to go on hiatus,” said one source. “Skip has never done anything like this during all his years at FS1 or ESPN. Not being on the air during all these NBA moves is killing him.”
Meanwhile, Bayless has been trying to hype up the hiatus as a chance to retool “Undisputed” for the better, though details remain scarce.
Bayless remains under contract with Fox Sports through 2025 after signing a four-year, $32 million extension despite overtures from ESPN to reunite with former partner Stephen A. Smith on “First Take.” Bayless is reportedly still interested in a reunion, though it’s hard to see how that happens in the near future.
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