FS1 has reiterated its dedication to Skip Bayless, with a massive new contract that prevented him from jumping back over to ESPN. With that deal comes a potential expansion of the Undisputed host’s on-air role.
ESPN looked to bring Bayless back, to reunite him with Stephen A. Smith on First Take, launch an ESPN+ program with the two controversial talking heads, and make other appearances, including during the network’s Monday Night Football broadcast.
Instead, he’s staying at FS1 for a mammoth $32 million over four years. His new contract involves the potential for a second show on the network starring Bayless. One of those ideas has really gotten a rise out of sports fans.
“Fox Sports has had discussions internally about creating a faux courtroom show starring the 69-year-old Bayless,” Mike McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports. “Nothing has been finalized. The Judge Skip concept is one of several solo ideas on the drawing board for the controversial co-host of FS1’s ‘Skip & Shannon: Undisputed’ morning debate show.”
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 9, 2021
McCarthy says that adding a second Skip Bayless show would help “justify” his gaudy salary, especially considering he makes twice what his Undisputed co-star Shannon Sharpe does. He also believes that keeping Bayless at roughly the same level that Stephen A. Smith is at ESPN is important for FS1.
The show idea itself… well, it sounds like exactly what a Bayless-led Judge Judy-esque program would be.
Third, a “Judge Skip” show would be relatively cheap and easy to produce. Bayless wouldn’t have to be on-camera for much of the filming.
Instead, the heavy lifting would be done by the various debate opponents riding Bayless’ favorite hobby horses, such as the Cowboys and whether LeBron James has a “clutch” gene.
If done right, FS1 could film multiple episodes in a single day in front of and behind the camera already in place at its Los Angeles studio.
Whether that will be enough to justify the salary is an open question, considering Undisputed‘s failure to be a ratings juggernaut throughout its run. And while FS1 apparently sees Bayless as a draw, the reaction to this idea is lukewarm at the absolute best.
The only real option here is Skip Bayless serving as the judge of a debate show between Skip Bayless and Skip Bayless pic.twitter.com/lQ7jdliwCw
— T M (@reshmanuel) March 9, 2021
When you spend all of 45 seconds thinking of new ideas… https://t.co/RZu1nTp5iy
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) March 9, 2021
This sounds like a disaster…but if you do this with Stephen A. Smith as the judge instead, that might actually be pretty entertaining. https://t.co/uxMTL7OlcE
— Brennan Mense (@BrennanMense) March 9, 2021
As God as my witness, if this idea makes it to air we will cover it with an alarming intensity. Have never wanted anything more in my life. https://t.co/FitYPfpeIV
— Kyle Koster (@KyleKoster) March 9, 2021
Because this is what intelligent sports viewers demand. https://t.co/9tqP7YLB4w
— Brad Evans (@NoisyHuevos) March 9, 2021
Good luck to FS1 on selling this idea, if it winds up being the choice for the second Skip Bayless vehicle.