It was announced at the end of April that Skip Bayless will be leaving ESPN after his contract expires in August, taking his talents (if you want to call them that) to Fox Sports, where he will reportedly take in between $5 million and $6 million per year.
Bayless, of course, is mostly known for his work on First Take, where he sits across from Stephen A. Smith, debating about the current events in sports and getting accidentally spit on every time Stephen A. says the letter “P”. Bayless has hosted the show since its creation back in 2007, begging the question; who will replace him?
Now, you can’t just throw in any old suit and expect him to be able to live up to Skip’s legacy, can you? There are certain qualities this person must have that set them apart from the pack. First and foremost, you must be able to make great predictions like this one:
Oh, we also can’t forget about this one…
If you thought that was good, wait until you see this last one:
You almost have to try to be that awful at predicting something. That’s like a weatherman showing up to work on a 70-degree day and saying, “you know what? I should have brought my ice scraper!” You do know you do this for a living, right Skip? This guy makes $5 million a year to tell you Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, and Josh Freeman are the next big gunslingers in the NFL. With predictions like that, we’re going to need someone truly crazy to take his place. That being said, let’s dive into a few potential candidates:
1: Keith Olbermann
There are few people who have ever worked for ESPN that have the potential to stir up as much buzz as Keith Olbermann. Sure, his most recent stint on the network as the host of the ESPN2 program Olbermann was a complete flop, but the guy brings controversy everywhere he goes. This is generally seen as a negative thing, but on a show like First Take, controversy drives ratings. He is very much like Skip in that he has almost no filter, and he has enough credibility to be able to take on Stephen A. Smith on a daily basis. It would be when they replaced Steve with Joe on Blues’ Clues. Everyone knows you did it, but it’s still basically the same thing, so would anyone really even care?
2: Adnan Virk
If you don’t recognize the name, you definitely recognize the face. While Virk’s main job with the network is anchoring SportsCenter, he also does work on a variety of other programs. He has proven to be a versatile commentator in a variety of outlets, including ESPN Radio where he subs in for the usual hosts from time-to-time.
3: Jay Pharaoh as Stephen A. Smith
Please. Just for one episode. I want to see Stephen A. Smith have to try and seriously debate with this mirror image of himself. Jay Pharaoh absolutely kills it with this impression, and seeing the two in one room would be priceless. This one is wishful thinking though, as Jay Pharaoh probably won’t be leaving SNL for ESPN any time soon.
4: Woody Paige
Many people know Woody Paige as a frequent panelist for Around the Horn. Woody is most noted for having a very raspy voice that never seems to be any lower than a shouting level. The guy sounds like he just climbed a mountain or ran a mile and sat down to do a television program directly after. He would be great with Stephen A. Smith, and it would basically just be replacing an old, outspoken white guy with an even older outspoken white guy.
5: Jim Rome
Okay, I know this guy left ESPN a few years ago, but can you really think of anyone better suited to do a show about arguing and complaining than Jim Rome? It’s basically what the guy made a career from. Remember Jim Rome is Burning? Also, this guy got someone so mad they tried to strangle him on live television, so I can only imagine what would happen if they paired him with Smith.
What is Peyton Manning up to these days? I know that he would probably be awful on this show, but I would love to see him on T.V. very soon. This probably wouldn’t be the best gig for him, however, as he is more suited for commercials, and, well, more commercials.
It has been reported that Kobe Bryant has been working with the likes of Stephen Spielberg and other renowned directors as he launches his own company, Kobe Inc., but wouldn’t you love to see Kobe on television? The guy can seriously do anything and he will be good at it, so let’s see what he’s got.