Skip Bayless Lines Up ESPN Exit

ESPN host Skip Bayless will depart the sports media giant when his contract runs out in August. According to ESPN, his final appearance on First Take, which he hosts with Stephen A. Smith, will be the day after the NBA Finals conclude.

Bayless, who was a sportswriter at the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers, has spent a dozen years at ESPN. Before signing on at ESPN, he appeared on the roundtable talker The Sports Reporters on that network.

According to, Bayless appears headed to Fox Sports, where he will host an afternoon debate show on Fox Sports 1. Bayless knows Jamie Horowitz, president of national networks at Fox Sports, from the exec’s time as VP of original programming at ESPN.

Last summer, Colin Cowherd departed ESPN for a post at Fox Sports. Bill Simmons, meanwhile, left for HBO.

Fox Sports declined to comment on Bayless.

Said ESPN, “We want to thank Skip for his many contributions to ESPN. His hard work and talent have benefited ESPN for 12 years.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.