Skip Bayless will be with Fox Sports for another four years. According to the New York Post, the 69-year-old sports commentator has signed a four-year, $32 million contract extension with Fox Sports after lengthy negotiations. This comes after ESPN pursued Bayless to reunite him with Stephen A. Smith.
Bayless is currently the co-host of the FS1 morning show Undisputed with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. He will remain on the show, but FS1 is in the early planning stage of a possible second daily show in the afternoons where Bayless will be the solo host. It was reported that Smith was the driving force behind ESPN going after Bayless. In August, the four-letter network offered Bayless a four-year deal with $30 million. There were also reports of the deal being as high as $31 million and also as $26.5 million.
Had Bayless signed with ESPN, he would have been reunited with Smith, but not on First Take. Bayless and Smith would have appeared on different programs on ESPN to help bolster subscriptions to ESPN+. When talking to the New York Post, Bayless talked about how close he and Smith are despite working for rival networks.
“Stephen A. Smith is even more of a brother to me than my real brother,” Bayless said. “I love the man, as you know, on and off the air. Since I left ‘First Take’ for ‘Undisputed’ back in June of 2016, Stephen A. and I have remained in close touch.” Bayless also said he appreciated the leadership at ESPN and Fox Sports. He also added that he loves working with Sharpe despite not being the same bond as him and Smith.
Bayless left ESPN to join Fox Sports five years ago, signing a four-year, $24 million contract. ESPN still tried to get Bayless back even when he agreed to stay with Fox Sports. The Post reports that Bayless would stay on at FS1 but would team up with Smith for an ESPN+ show. ESPN was going after Bayless amid layoffs in the company. Back in November, ESPN eliminated 500 positions while laying off 300 people. Bayless has worked in TV, radio and print journalism in his career. Before ESPN, Bayless worked at numerous newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald and the Dallas Morning News.