‘Skip Isn’t Doing Well Anymore’: Shannon Sharpe Bounces Back from Fallout with Skip Bayless, Inks Multiyear Deal With ESPN Following Viral Katt Williams Interview

A year after an emotional split from FS1’s “Undisputed” with polarizing media personality Skip Bayless, whom he said had “no respect” for him, things are looking up for Shannon Sharpe and his new home at ESPN.

Sharpe made his debut on ESPN’s “First Take” on Sept. 4, 2023, after exiting “Undisputed” in June of that year. Sharpe and Bayless had some contentious moments during their seven-year run, but the three-time Super Bowl champion’s first nine months at ESPN appear to have been a success, as the network is now rewarding him with an expanded multiyear contract. Even Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, ESPN’s parent company, got involved in retaining Sharpe and expanding his role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

With this new deal, Sharpe is expected to have a larger presence on ESPN’s long-running morning program “First Take” and will also make appearances on the network’s other programs across its variety of platforms, The Athletic reported. Details on his appearance schedule are expected to be announced at a later date.

“Being a part of this family has been a blessing,” Sharpe said in a statement. “Everything about this relationship with ESPN, Stephen A., and ‘First Take’ has been tremendous. I look forward to expanding my role and showing more of the world what I have to offer. The show goes on!”

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe
‘Skip Isn’t Doing Well Anymore’: Shannon Sharpe Bounces Back from Fallout with Skip Bayless, Inks Multiyear Deal With ESPN Following Viral Katt Williams Interview (Photo: @shannonsharpe84 @skipbayless/Instagram)

The full terms of Sharpe’s deal were not disclosed, but some fans took to social media to react shortly after news of the former NFL star’s expanded role with the network surfaced.

“Unc getting paid,” another fan said.

“Perfect he’s one of the only great analysts they have,” another social media user declared.

“Its a reason Skip isn’t doing well anymore & his podcast,” tweeted an X user. “The numbers say first take is better without Skip & undisputed is worst without Shay.”

However, some fans miss Skip and Shannon as a duo.

“Shannon Sharpe was better on ‘Undisputed’ than he is on ‘First Take,'” a fan tweeted.

“Shannon & Skip was the best combo It was like a comedy act much like the ‘nba on tnt crew.’ Shannon & SAS just feels forced,” tweeted another.

Sharpe currently appears on “First Take” twice a week alongside outspoken sports commentator and podcast host Stephen A. Smith and a rotating panel of co-hosts.

Sharpe also hosts his own podcast, “Club Shay Shay,” where he interviews celebrity guests weekly, as well as a nightly show called “Nightcap” with Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Gilbert Arenas.

In Jan. 2024, Sharpe sat down with comedian Katt Williams for an episode of his “Club Shay Shay” podcast. The interview went viral, racking up more than 70 million views as of June. The interview sparked countless memes and conversations about Hollywood culture.

During an episode of Sharpe’s “Nightcap” show, he set the record straight about how he profited from the interview.

“I just got the check. So whatever you think I made, three X it. So if you think I made 500,000, three X it. If you think I made a million, three X it. If you think I made two million, three X it,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe said the interview with Williams prompted Iger to personally reach out to him to talk about his future with the company, the Pro Football Hall of Famer told The Hollywood Reporter in May.

ESPN executives described Sharpe as an “incredible addition” to the team.

“Shannon Sharpe has been an incredible addition to the First Take team, enhancing the show’s dynamic with his engaging presence and insightful commentary,” David Roberts, ESPN’s head of event & studio production, said in a statement​. “Shannon’s chemistry with Stephen A. Smith has elevated our debates and been another key reason First Take is the premier destination for morning sports discussion.”

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