Connect with us

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith Tells JJ Redick About His History with Skip Bayless

“Skip Bayless comes to me in a parking lot on the campus of ESPN… and he says, ‘I know you got your plans. You love the NBA. You love being out on the road, you love being in the locker room, but I need you.'”

Published

on

Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless

The undisputed “Face of ESPN” sat down for a discussion with First Take newcomer JJ Redick and talked for over an hour. The conversation was partifuclarly interesting when Redick asked Stephen A. Smith about his television past. Specifically, the television past that included his former First Take co-host Skip Bayless.

Smith was asked pretty early into The Old Man and The Three, Redick’s podcast, about the origins of First Take. That’s when Smith painted an intriguing beginning of the show and how he become involved.

Skip Bayless was on First Take‘s precursor, Cold Pizza and to hear Smith tell it, it was regular sports show stuff until the arrival of a key executive.

“A guy by the name of Jamie Horowitz, who was an executive here, he took over First Take for a short period of time, said Smith. “He did a focus group and the focus groups say, ‘we don’t want all that other stuff, we want debate’. And so he made he took First Take from a conventional show and changed it into an all debate format featuring Skip Bayless. And that’s when it really took off.”

The early days of First Take were littered with a mixture of talent sitting across from Bayless attempting to work out this new format. The show, according to Smith, wasn’t as successful as the network would have liked. That’s when Bayless approached Smith.

“Skip Bayless comes to me in a parking lot on the campus of ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, and he says, ‘I know you got your plans. You love the NBA. You love being out on the road, you love being in the locker room, but I need you.'” He said, ‘I’ve done all that I could to take this as far as I could go. I just need three years.”

Smith agreed partly because he felt like he lacked options.

“One month later, we were number one. And we’ve been number one ever since.”

That chemistry that launched a debating empire had been around for a long time. Yeah, we always had a chemistry. Smith and Bayless worked at Fox and in fact, did a pilot with essentially the same format as what First Take would become.

“It was called Sports in Black and White. And they were they were basically trying to create it to go up against PTI. They loved it. We were in contract talks, the whole bit. And at the 11th hour, 59th minute, the head of Fox, David Hill, pulled the plug and said, this is not what we want to do.

Redick probed Smith on the end of the show’s pairing and the potential of a relationship “fracture”. Smith was quick with his response.

“Never. The only time anything came close to that was when I knew he was leaving before he told me. And I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ You know? And so I confronted him. And then when he confessed to me what had transpired between his negotiations with the company, I understood why he couldn’t tell me in the immediate moment. But that’s literally the only thing that we’ve ever had any kind of issue about. And that lasted for like six hours.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

Published

on

Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

Published

on

F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Published

on

Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.