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ESPN Tried, But Skip Bayless Chooses To Stay At FS1

“Marchand reports The Worldwide Leader made Bayless a contract offer worth up to $31 million, eyeing to pair him with Stephen A. Smith again.”

Brandon Contes

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After prying Skip Bayless away from ESPN with a four-year, $24 million deal in 2016, FOX Sports was apparently very happy with the return, giving the Undisputed co-host a raise on his second contract.

According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, Bayless’ second contract is a four-year, $32 million deal, a 33% increase. As part of the new deal with FOX, Bayless will continue his daily morning show alongside Shannon Sharpe on FS1, with plans to potentially launch a new solo project in afternoons for the network. But FOX Sports wasn’t the lone bidder for his services, as ESPN was pushing for a reunion with Bayless as recently as late last year. 

Marchand reports The Worldwide Leader made Bayless a contract offer worth up to $31 million, eyeing to pair him with Stephen A. Smith again. The reunion would not have been on First Take, instead creating a new venture to help bolster their subscription platform ESPN+. 

ESPN even considered a deal that would split Bayless with FS1, allowing him to continue his role on Undisputed and work an afternoon show with Smith. Although rare, the networks similarly share Alex Rodriguez who works in the booth for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseballand as an MLB studio analyst for FOX. But Bayless’ new deal with FOX will keep him there exclusively for now. 

Since Bayless left First Take and ESPN in 2016, he’s remained close with Smith. In a recent interview with USA Today, Smith acknowledged, “the hope is that one day we’ll reunite in some capacity.” Skip’s new contract with FS1 will take him to age 73, but he’s said he doesn’t want this to be the final deal of his sportscasting career, meaning there’s still time for a future reunion with Smith. 

Sports TV News

Peter Burns Apologizes To Ben Watson After On-Air Joke About Wife

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

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SEC Network host Peter Burns has publicly apologized to analyst Ben Watson and his wife Kirsten for an off-color joke he made during halftime of Saturday’s Florida/Vanderbilt game on the network.

While joking about Watson’s suit being lighter in color than everyone else’s on set, Watson said he didn’t care what the other hosts thought about his suit, just as long as his wife thought he looked nice, and asked her to “send the text” letting him know he looked good. Burns quipped “that’s not the text she sent me” before going to commercials. When the show returned, Burns and Watson were not on set, and the former NFL tight end insinuated the pair had a strong disagreement during the break.

Later that evening, Burns tweeted a picture of the pair with the caption #Friendship, which Watson retweeted saying Burns needed to publicly apologize. He did that Monday evening.

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

An ESPN representative had previously told OutKick the entire situation was a joke, calling it a “performance bit”, adding Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination”.

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Sports TV News

Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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Sports TV News

Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia

The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.

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After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.

The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.

Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.

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