With an impressive career spanning three decades, being the face of ESPN and making $8 million annually, 53-year-old Stephen A. Smith is still chasing his dream job.
“My aspiration is to ultimately do late-night one day,” Smith told USA TODAY Sports.
Smith’s work ethic in sports media is hard to top, but his ability to keep moving career goal posts might be the key to avoiding complacency. Earlier this month, Smith launched another project for The Worldwide Leader, a new weeknight series on ESPN+ titled Stephen A’s World.
The show serves two purposes, adding star power to ESPN’s subscription platform, which costs users $5.99 per month, and giving Smith the freedom to get his feet wet in the late-night space.
“I think there’s a hole in late-night that I could help fill,” Smith added during his interview with USA TODAY Sports. “So when I think about Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon and those guys – I can’t forget Trevor Noah, who I think does a phenomenal job on Comedy Central – it’s something that I aspire to do as well.”
Smith’s biggest concern with a potential late-night show is the opening monologue, which is traditionally an opportunity for the host to begin the show with a stand-up style introduction.
“When I think about late-night, for example, the only thing I concern myself with is the opening monologue,” Smith said. “There’s nothing else in the show I don’t believe I can’t do. It’s just the opening monologue that I’ve always professed would be a challenge for me, because I don’t know if I would be funny intentionally. But nevertheless, it’s a challenge I’m ultimately willing to partake.”
A late-night show is something Smith has expressed interest in for a long time, calling it “the ultimate fantasy” in 2018. Smith ventured into the space with Quite Frankly on ESPN2 in 2005, but it was canceled after less than two years.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job
“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”
The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.
On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.
He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.
“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”
Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.
“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”
Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.
“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”
Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.
Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider
“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”
Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.
Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.
Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.
In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.
Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.
Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong
“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”
The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.
During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.
“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”
The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.
“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”