After tight end Shannon Sharpe, who is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, left, Skip Bayless and FS1 struggled to find a replacement. To replace Sharpe, they eventually employed a large group of individuals.
Fox Sports adopted the rotating round table format used by ESPN, which features Rachel Nichols, Lil Wayne, Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin, and Richard Sherman. Despite having more skill, Undisputed still behind First Take in the ratings.
Sharpe predicts that Bayless will never again outperform him in TV ratings once he leaves FS1. This past weekend, Sharpe delivered that harsh message.
Shannon Sharpe says that even if Stephen A. Smith left 'First Take', the show would still beat out Skip Bayless and 'Undisputed' in ratings.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) September 26, 2023
Journey of Skip Bayless and influence of Sharpe
The 71-year-old Bayless began working for ESPN full-time in 2004, and from 2007 until his retirement from Fox in 2016, he was a regular contributor to First Take. Undisputed made its debut in 2016 and was successful, however it lagged First Take in the ratings.
Sharpe said on the podcast
“Y’all not going to be better than me and Stephen A. That’s not going to happen. I promise you, that is not going to happen. Ever. EVER,”
“Now, if Stephen A. says, ‘Shannon, I want to go in a different direction,’ you all are still not (going to beat us). Because Stephen A. is that dude. If Stephen A. ever decides to leave and turn the reins over to me, you all know I’m that dude. I’m him.”
Sharpe admitted that the situation was so volatile he nearly reached across the table at Bayless.
“It took a lot for me not to put my hands on him. It actually did,” Sharpe recalled.
The “Undisputed” alliance was terminated, according to Sharpe, following Bayless’ live-TV remarks during a segment in which Skip dissed his career in support of Tom Brady.