Longtime “First Take” co-host Skip Bayless provided clues to his decision to leave ESPN for a new gig with rival Fox Sports 1, taking a shot at his former employer in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The veteran sports commentator apparently felt the network was reining him in, even after 12 years at ESPN.
“Too many people in charge at ESPN, for my taste, were a little too fearful,” Bayless told THR. “It’s a Disney network. There are just certain boundaries that you can’t even tiptoe along. Not that we won’t have boundaries at Fox, because we will. [But] they will trust me to go a little deeper. I can be completely honest on everything.”
Fox Sports 1 was expected to officially unveil plans today for Bayless’ new daily show, which THR reports will premiere Sept. 6. The new program will reportedly air from 10 a.m.-noon, putting it head to head against ESPN2’s “First Take,” where longtime Bayless foil Stephen A. Smith now squares off against Bayless’ replacement, Max Kellerman.
While Bayless, 64, wasn’t providing specifics about the new show, THR notes that the move comes with a pay raise for Bayless, who has a four-year deal at Fox Sports 1 worth almost $6 million a year.
The report notes that Bayless, who has earned a reputation as a contrarian, had a widely publicized clash with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in 2013. Here’s one of their classic confrontations …