Sports

Time for FS1 to do something about Skip Bayless, ‘Undisputed’

Skip Bayless’ “Undisputed” has hit a dry spell since the departure of NFL Hall of Famer and current ESPN “First Take” analyst, Shannon Sharpe. Bayless’ new crew, which includes former NFL stars, rappers and a highly respected media personality, hasn’t been able to captivate the nation in the same manner Skip & Shannon did for so many years. But now that we’ve seen Skip’s vision for the “New Undisputed,” it’s time for FOX Sports and FS1 to grow a pair and reel Bayless back in.

To put it frankly, it’s not working anymore. But in fairness, this show has become less irritating than watching ESPN pull the strings on their puppet leading the competition on that other show Bayless once starred in. Though Stephen A. Smith and his merry band of misfits seem to have the right formula, especially since Sharpe jumped on board last fall.

Last week, Bayless’ show hit a new low since returning to air for the start of the NFL season. The show attracted an average of just 50,000 viewers last Tuesday (Feb. 27) which was even lower than the re-air of ESPN’s “Get Up” on ESPN 2 the same day. As ratings continue to dip lower and lower, FS1 just sits back and watches. All for the sake of appeasing their supposed “golden goose,” Bayless.

Now that we’re through the NFL season and have some time to breathe before the NBA playoffs, FS1 needs to seriously take a close look at the network. Their two daily shows that start off the live programming portion of the day (Monday-Friday) are programs almost nobody cares about. “The Craig Carton Show” leading into “Undisputed” has been a disaster. Carton’s show on FS1 has always felt like it’s on an island unto itself with no real connection to the other shows on FS1’s daily lineup.

When Sharpe was still in the fold on “Undisputed”, even during the rift toward the end, it was still a solid show that fans loved tuning into and chatting about online even if most hated Bayless. Sharpe was the lone redeeming character in that partnership and that’s evident in how far Bayless has fallen over the past several months. We’re not even a full year into the split of Sharpe and Bayless and an undisputed (pun intended), clear-cut winner has been crowned.

The most hated man in sports media

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and Bayless’ expired long ago. There were reports from the start dating back to last summer that executives at FOX Sports were not happy with Bayless’ decision to go with a rotating ensemble cast to replace Shay Shay. All he did was copy Smith’s recent “First Take” format and called it a day.

Bayless was the No. 1 guy for years and really helped get this whole debate genre of sports talk shows rolling. But the end comes for all of us and it’s time for FOX to stop tiptoeing around the issue and make wholesale changes to the early morning block of programming. They can’t continue to allow Bayless to control such a prime viewing slot with little to no return.

As a personality, Bayless is hated by most people you talk to and that even goes for those who’ve had the “pleasure” of working with him. But it goes far beyond disliking the on-air personality: Folks don’t like the man, Skip Bayless. Now, this deep dislike for Bayless isn’t really new, but after his comments following Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field in January last year, that sent most over the edge.

Sharpe couldn’t even defend Bayless after that and even skipped the show that following Monday morning. Add to that the blatant disrespect Bayless has shown to athletes over the years, including former co-host, Sharpe, and it’s clear to see why nobody likes nor wants to be around him. A while back there was talk of Bayless and Smith teaming up once again, which ultimately amounted to nothing. That might not be a bad idea since it feels like the further away we get from the old “First Take”, the more it seems like Smith and Bayless truly deserve each other.



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