Shannon Sharpe, recently of FS1’s “Undisputed,” has found a new home.
Stephen A. Smith announced Thursday that Sharpe will be joining him and the rest of the crew on ESPN’s “First Take,” starting Sept. 4.
“It is official, Shannon Sharpe is coming to ‘First Take’,” Smith said, after admitting he had only found out himself about 60 seconds earlier.
Sharpe is moving to ESPN after seven years of sparring with Skip Bayless on “Undisputed.” Fox poached Bayless from “First Take” in 2016 and paired him with Sharpe, a Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end who had been a commentator for CBS. It was a successful partnership that led to numerous passionate, furious and dramatic debates, though an incident in January showed some friction between the two.
When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during a game on Jan. 4, which required his heart to be restarted with a defibrillator, Bayless posted a tweet not about Hamlin’s health, but about whether the game should be postponed. Sharpe was not on “Undisputed” the next day, and when he returned, he explained why — but not without Bayless interrupting him.
Sharpe announced he was leaving in early June, and his final “Undisputed” appearance was June 13. On the show, he tearfully thanked Bayless for his support over the years.
Sharpe will appear with Smith on “First Take” every Monday and Tuesday. As for “Undisputed,” there haven’t been any new episodes since Sharpe left. That’s reportedly because Fox Sports had been struggling to find a replacement for Sharpe. Bayless announced Wednesday that Keyshawn Johnson, Richard Sherman and Michael Irvin would be joining “Undisputed” and turning it into an ensemble show, but that’s not confirmed yet. Johnson, who was laid off by ESPN in June, has yet to be released from his contract, according to the New York Post.