ESPN’s hit morning show “First Take” has lined up temporary replacements for Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, with Smith on vacation while Bayless recently left the sports debate show.
TheWrap reports that the network is close to settling on a permanent replacement for Bayless. Smith is due back in his spot the week of July 18 following a three-week vacation.
Bayless made an emotional exit from the show in June before heading off to a new job at Fox Sports.
A number of ESPN Radio hosts are lining up to fill in for the regulars starting July 11, when regular host Molly Qerim will host a rotating lineup of personalities.
“Steve Mason and John Ireland will join the show on Monday, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman will embrace debate on Tuesday,” TheWrap reports. “Peter Rosenberg, Don La Greca and Rick DiPietro will appear on Wednesday with Freddie Coleman and Bomani Jones taking over on Thursday. The week will end with Jalen Rose and David Jacoby serving as guest co-hosts on Friday.”
The report quotes ESPN VP of Production Marcia Keegan saying of Bayless’ permanent replacement: “We looked at a lot of people and we’re close to making a decision.”
ESPN’s Colin Cowherd hinted last week that Max Kellerman is close to landing the job, the report adds.