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Skip Bayless Leaving ESPN In Network’s Latest High-Profile Exit

The worldwide loss leader? Yet another high-profile on-air personality is leaving ESPN as First Take co-host Skip Bayless is bolting after a dozen years.

The news comes the day after the sports giant confirmed the exit of its longtime Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico for NBC and less than a week after it fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling for an anti-transgender posting on social media.

first-take-350x247The opinionated and often acerbic Bayless has hosted ESPN2’s daily program First Take with Stephen A. Smith for years. The two often get into loud arguments as they debate hot-button sports topics. ESPN said Bayless’ final appearance on the program will be the day after the NBA Finals conclude in June.

“Skip Bayless has decided to leave ESPN when his contract expires at the end of August,” ESPN said in a statement. “We want to thank Skip for his many contributions to ESPN. His hard work and talent have benefited ESPN for 12 years.”

Bayless joined ESPN in 2004 as a writer for and a commentator on Cold Pizza, ESPN2’s former weekday morning show. In May 2007, the show moved from New York to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT, and was rechristened First Take. Before joining the sports giant,  he spent more than 20 years as a newspaper sports columnist.

The Bayless news continues a series of high-profile exits from ESPN’s ranks in the past year-plus. Colin Cowherd left the company last summer in the wake of being suspended for remarks about the mental capacities of Dominicans and then trying to explain himself on air afterward. He landed at rival Fox Sports. Earlier that month, Keith Olbermann left ESPN — for a second time — after the Disney-owned network said it made a “business decision” not to renew his contract. And once-Golden Boy Bill Simmons’ comments about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2014 paved the way for his departure from the Bristol campus in May. He went on to sign a big deal with HBO.

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  1. Brianon Apr 26, 2016 3:01 pm

    Skip has embarrassed himself and ESPN for years. Good riddance!

  2. FGon Apr 26, 2016 3:47 pm

    The ESPN bubble is about to burst

  3. Marco Esquandolason Apr 26, 2016 3:58 pm

    Good riddance, you horrible, horrible troll.

  4. No One of Consequenceon Apr 26, 2016 4:23 pm

    Looks like ESPN has finally realized that sports sell the network, not absurd cartoonish buffoons spouting nonsense.

  5. RAHon Apr 26, 2016 5:09 pm

    No great loss. Guy is annoying at best.

  6. on Apr 26, 2016 5:43 pm

    espn is a joke anyway. they fire you or suspend you if you make comments or opinions that do not fit there agenda. kurt schilling got fired, bill simmons left because he commented on things that espn did not like. mike ditka got taken the sunday show because he spoke the truth about hillary. network losing talent and viewers.

    • Richard Williamson Apr 27, 2016 6:36 pm


  7. Daughter of Anarchyon Apr 26, 2016 8:39 pm

    ESPN fires anyone who develops a personality and is not a robo-announcer.

    That said, Skip Bayless is a buffoon and a clown. Its painful to watch him as anything other than a parody of a sports commentator.

    From his praise of Tim Tebow, to his myopic love for the Dallas Cowboys, to his self-aggrandizing manufactured feuds, he’s an ill-informed boob with an opinion. Hopefully he takes his “hot takes” to the local bar (just not a Philly bar, they’d throw him out on his ass) or even better, he can sports commentate on a street corner for loose change.

  8. Terry Slaughteron Apr 26, 2016 8:45 pm

    I used to watch ESPN all the, I got tired the liberal diatribes that worked its way into the broadcast !!!!!

  9. crazyone44on Apr 26, 2016 9:09 pm

    Never liked Bayless, and Stephen A Smith is even worse.

  10. on Apr 26, 2016 10:32 pm

    sign @albertbreer as the new face of sports media

  11. on Apr 27, 2016 5:15 am

    I might start watch first take again now. I stopped watching espn in the morning years ago because of skip

  12. on Apr 27, 2016 5:26 am

    Good. I hope he takes some of the smarmy anchors (Jay Harris etc) anchors and Screamin A Smith with him

  13. ETon Apr 27, 2016 5:38 am

    Bayless is considered “high profile” by the media only; they take care of their own… He’s a less-than-average sports analyst.

  14. on Apr 27, 2016 5:44 am

    Thank God! ESPN may begin to be watchable again if they get back to being a sports network and not a commentary for these flapping heads with jacked up opinions that no one can stand to listen to. I haven’t watched ESPN for over 3 years because of clowns like Bayless, Cowherd, and Stephen A. Smith. This won’t get me to watch again, but its a step in the right direction

  15. on Apr 27, 2016 5:45 am

    Good Riddance

  16. Joe Contion Apr 27, 2016 6:02 am

    Skip is a classic example of a sports writer who was never any good at any sports so he now writes and comments about it. He is HORRIBLE.

  17. on Apr 27, 2016 6:17 am

    Now if we can just get rid of Stephen A Smith…

  18. on Apr 27, 2016 6:46 am

    Never watched the show because of him. Learned he was a first-class turd in ’82.

  19. on Apr 27, 2016 6:59 am

    if skip can get 5 mil. anything is possible. One of the biggest wind bag on tv and radio, and there are plenty. Sad day in society when the commentators are as big as some of the genuine stars who have played the game at the professional level.

  20. alan laneon Apr 27, 2016 7:08 am

    Skip was the bridge to explore other avenues of a different venue and wouldn’t be talked down. I personally going to miss him, go with your
    maker, Skip.

  21. gman51on Apr 27, 2016 7:13 am

    I watched some of the ESPN broadcast of Red Sox v Astros on Sunday. I think they hired someone named Jessica Montero? or something to replace Curt Schilling as analyst. I’m sure she knows a lot about pitching? Anyway this was the most boring, inane, pathetic baseball broadcast I’ve ever been subjected to. But it was reassuring to know that Ms Montero no doubt does not care what bathroom anyone uses. (Well unless maybe she or HER daughter is in there I dunno, no one asked.)

  22. on Apr 27, 2016 7:18 am

    Personally I loved the show you guys aren’t taking it for what it is worth. I sit and laugh all day watching this show. It’s like watching two drunk guy arguing at the bar. And the last two ladies moderators they had on the show were gorgeous Cari and Molly are in my late night fantasys.

  23. MICHAEL G ANDERSONon Apr 27, 2016 7:22 am

    Personally I loved the show you guys aren’t taking it for what it is worth. I sit and laugh all day watching this show. It’s like watching two drunk guy arguing at the bar. And the last two ladies moderators they had on the show were gorgeous Cari and Molly are in my late night fantasys.

  24. Kelvinon Apr 27, 2016 7:35 am

    Thank god…Maybe ESPN will start to clean house and get back to sports. They have gone to liberal and political. If ESPN doesn’t believe your being politically correct your gone. Get back to sports and maybe your viewership will increase again.

    • on May 22, 2016 11:56 am

      Going too Liberal? Oh yes.
      But you should know that Skip is conservative and that’s why he’s gone. Opinionated white guy arguing with a black guy for years? That is definitely Not a part of the liberal agenda… Well not if he’s any good at it anyway.

  25. on Apr 27, 2016 7:42 am

    I’m sure we can count on ESPN replacing these people leaving with inexperienced, boring women. That seems to be the trend. I can say this because I am a women. I used to love watching ESPN, I hardly ever watch now because of the “women” who have monotone voices trying to sound exciting during a football game or a basketball game. Fingernails on a chalkboard! Not to mention the barbies that know nothing about the sport they are covering.

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