Sports TV News
Skip Bayless: I’m The Cal Ripken of Debate Shows
“I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
If you ask Skip Bayless if he has ever lost a debate on UNDISPUTED or when he was at First Take, he will tell you he has been undefeated against whomever he goes up against on the 9-10 topics that he debates daily.
On his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show, Bayless made an estimate as to how many shows he has done over the duration of over two decades and how he compared himself to being the Cal Ripken of sports debate shows.
“Here’s my best estimation. Over 23 years and 4 months on national television, I have done 5,715 shows. If we have averaged 9 topics per show, that means I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
“Nobody is more experienced in the debate format than I am. You can say I am the Cal Ripken of the genre. My friends, Michael Wilson and Tony Kornheiser, have been on TV for more years doing their show, which is all-time great, but their show is only 30 minutes a day. Mine was 2 hours a day at ESPN and 2.5 hours a day for the 6.5 years I’ve been at FS1.”
In the mailbag portion of his show, Bayless gave away the keys to winning a debate and how he always is ready whenever a show goes live.
“It’s preparation and concentration. Most debates are won the night before by researching and thinking them through. If he goes there, I will go here. If he goes here, I will go there. Then, of course, when that red light goes on, you must lock in and you must hyper focus for each of those 9-10 topics. If you let your mind wander for even a split second, you lose. We are live and I live for live.”
While some might disagree with what Bayless has to say, he knows that he doesn’t say things for shock value and he is not afraid to say how he feels about any subject.
“Shock jocks get exposed as frauds, as one-trick ponies. I am not that. God gave me a pretty good brain, a pretty good feel for sports and the people in and around sports. I watch those people very closely. I watch the games very closely and I am constantly asking myself what is really going on here?
“I am not afraid to say what I see and I see a lot. At heart, I am a truth teller, not a shock jock. I am often proven right. In fact, if you want to know the truth…I am invariably proven to be right again and again over time. People just try to explain me away and I just keep showing up every day after day after day. I stand strong. I don’t back off. I endure.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Charles Barkley ‘Was so Mad’ at ESPN Coverage of LeBron James
“We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
When the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in the 47-year history of the franchise, ESPN showed the team’s celebration for all of four seconds. It then quickly switched to a shot of LeBron James, stoic but obviously disappointed, walking through the tunnel back to the Los Angeles Lakers locker room.
Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take, JJ Redick criticized the network’s NBA coverage for highlighting larger markets and a small faction of players considered to be “superstars.” There’s no way to tell if Charles Barkley was watching, but Redick’s point is one he agreed with.
That night on Inside the NBA, Barkley said he was annoyed with the amount of attention put on LeBron James after the game. He wanted to see the reactions of Nuggets stars Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone to making the NBA Finals. Instead, he and other viewers were inundated with more content centered around the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was so mad this morning I actually turned the TV off,” Barkley said last night on Inside the NBA, “because the Denver Nuggets sweep and get to the Finals for the first time. We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
James, for the record, did not even say that he was seriously considering retiring. In a post-game press conference following the Lakers’ elimination, he said he “had a lot to think about” in the offseason.
The Walt Disney Company has reported its most-watched NBA playoffs on ESPN platforms in the last 11 years, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The games have averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers, a 9% increase from the year prior. Moreover, Game 4 between the Nuggets and Lakers peaked at around 11.5 million viewers from the 11 to 11:15 p.m. EST quarter hour window, and averaged 8.2 million over the duration of the contest.
Sports TV News
ESPN Layoffs Resume, NFL & NBA Talent Likely To See Biggest Cuts
“The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning.”
ESPN will look to slash $30 million in salary as The Walt Disney Company’s layoffs continue, with a majority of it coming from talent covering the NFL and NBA. The network’s goal is to have the layoffs completed by the end of June according to a report by Front Office Sports.
Through it all, Max Kellerman’s afternoon television show This Just In could be canceled in order to slot Pat McAfee’s show into the daily programming lineup. Kellerman’s show airs from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, meaning more moves could be on the way to hold McAfee’s statement that his show will air immediately following First Take, which concludes at noon.
Employee morale at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol is reportedly quite low, with people questioning why the company chose to pay McAfee and lay off a litany of its dedicated and longtime staffers.
The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning. More names are surely to follow as The Worldwide Leader looks to do its part to contribute to Disney cutting $5.5 billion in costs. The final round is expected to impact 2,500 employees in different areas of the company.
The company expects to report its own earnings for the first time this November, and sources have stated that the numbers will be impressive. Conducting the layoffs in separate rounds and saving on-air talent for last, however, has certainly played a role in public perception of the moves, and this week’s round will largely impact executives and other personnel behind the scenes.
Sports TV News
Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”
The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.
But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”
Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.
“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.