Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill has been on suspension since October 9 and will return on October 23. But while she’ll back at work, the question is, what will actually be next for her? While her show with Michael Smith, SC6, remains on the air, the show that was once supposed to showcase them both in the vein of their old show, His & Hers, has become more of a traditional SportsCenter show in recent weeks.

While Hill remains off the air, ESPN has to be doing some thinking as to whether it’s worth it to keep her. While her tweet about President Trump being “a white supremacist” certainly rankled many and reportedly almost got her pulled off SC6, it was her tweets about boycotting sponsors that got her suspended.

Hill has her supporters inside ESPN and among her fellow journalists, but she also is polarizing — especially on the right side of the political spectrum.

ESPN is in the middle, having to decide whether to keep her on-board and on the air. If you look at recent history, the Worldwide Leader has decided it was better to cut bait on its more volatile employees. Bill Simmons and Curt Schilling are prime examples, and after Hill returns to work, it’s possible that she might be too controversial for ESPN, Disney, and the corporate bosses to keep her around.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is one who thinks that ESPN will eventually decide to cancel SC6 and cut Hill loose.

In his podcast, Deitsch talked with ESPN tome author and insider Jim Miller about Hill’s future, and he also believes she’s not long for the Worldwide Leader.

“I don’t think it is going to make it,” Miller said. “I think it was an experiment where the [SportsCenter] brand is being challenged technologically and by a host of other challenges in the marketplace, and they were trying to figure out ways to rescue it in a different way. You know what? That is great. That is what networks and executives are supposed to do. You try things and you don’t necessarily bat 1.000%. I think in this case, I think there is enough evidence and minds along the road to say we tried and we are going to figure out something different. If there is one takeaway from this whole SC6 experiment, it is to make sure that if you are going to have someone with bold opinions and lot of gumption that you put them in an environment do that.”

That’s one opinion on Hill’s future, but as one looks at the tea leaves, ESPN has to decide whether it can continue this relationship. As we’ve learned, Disney and ESPN have decided that no one is bigger than the brand. One can be the face of the network, but not be bigger than the network itself. As the days and weeks progress, ESPN may feel that going forward with Hill may not be worth the headaches.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • MrBeepo

    Ms. Hill is a dung beetle.

    • John Danknich

      Mr. Beepo in the house! 🙂

    • Riz

      I see the COWARD you are hiding your face. Typical White Trash!

      • that guy

        Sweet racism.

    • Christopher Bates

      It really does get cleverer every time you post it. Do you have a dung beetle macro yet?

  • Scott Fitzgerald

    She is so selfish. SC6 was supposed to be a big break for her and Michael Smith. But instead she decided to burn it down because she wanted to be an activist. Michael Smith is saying all the right things, but you know deep down he’s irritated.

    • Jason H.

      I was thinking the same thing. She would have blown up his spot and taken him down with her just because she had to get her hot takes off on twitter.

  • John Danknich

    If SC6 is canceled, the faux outrage from the leftist media will be deafening.

    • Brian C. Lee

      It most certainly will be deafening. It will also be hilarious. 🙂

      • BRUHMAN

        Yes It will be so funny that fucking Barstool Sports has a place at ESPN but a journalist doesn’t. It’ll be even funnier watching douchebag dude bros like you too jerk off into your MAGA Hats about it.

        • ABC123

          Pardon My Take is the top sports podcast, so it makes sense that ESPN would want them. SC6 is a show with very poor ratings, so it would make sense ESPN would cancel it. The Barstool Sports people are also some of the most anti Trump people you will find. “Big Cat” absolutely hates him.

          • John Danknich

            Anti-Trump, anti-woman and completely juvenile. What a bunch of jabronies. Haven’t we moved past this crap yet?

        • noonan18

          Calling Jemele a journalist is a bit of a reach.

    • inku palios

      The Reverend Al Sharpton is already bringing in the troops, & Joy Reid.

      • P.Fronts

        Not to mention SJW Dbag , Dave Zirin

  • Riz

    BLACK LIVES MATTER!

    • John Danknich

      All Lives Matter – no matter race, gender, sexuality or creed.

      • Deon Hamner

        Wouldn’t be saying black lives matter, if all lives mattered…

      • Tookie Clothespin

        So, then you’re saying that black lives DO in fact matter? Nice to see that you’re in agreement with the OP.

  • newdog301

    Jemele and Michael should consider themselves very lucky. They worked at ESPN and got to do a podcast talking about mostly non-sports issues. That worked, I’ll give them credit, it was popular and the network decided to essentially put it on the air.

    But their egos got a bit too inflated. If you ever put on ESPN at 6 you’ll hear endless 21st century expressions, random pop culture references only they find funny and discussion way too laid back for a TV show. Because ESPN let them put that on the air, they also thought that flexibility would extend to other areas such as Twitter.

    I’ll give Michael credit because he actually engaged in some Twitter conversations with me in the past which I respect, but you do have to have some professionalism with how you carry yourself. So far Hill has relied on the power of her fandom overshadowing the need to do that.

  • Therealdan McKelvey

    Horrible show anyway you look at it…Could be OK for a half hour at 630, maybe…

  • Gene Zebroski

    Everyone here makes great points (and as much as I like to keep my sports and politics separate), who am I to attempt to understand Jemele Hill’s (a true professional [albeit a little annoying]) agenda and/or beliefs. SC6 is going to fail on the current sports media climate. I cant say with any certainty, its because of Jemele.

    • CjGoon

      Correct. Sportscenter at any time no matter who is hosting has become irrelevant in this media age we live in. It is no longer must watch TV like it was 10-20 years ago. They can replace Michael and Jemele and ratings won’t budge bc no one watches SC anymore as their source of sports updates.

      • Dale Moog

        I disagree, I think you could do some form of SC that was meaningful and produced good ratings. I just do not know if it could work at 6 ET. I think the prime time SC’s that air on ESPNEWS are very current because they can switch from game to game on a busy night like tonight with NBA, NHL and MLB playoffs. But they will never be like they were in the old days.

  • redman913

    i swear i am completely unbiased here, no employee is bigger than the brand in any publicly traded corporation in America. i understand Hill and Smith are in a powerful position being anchors for the 6:00 PM slot but if you’re one of the higher ups and you see employees thinking that they’re bigger than the company, bad things are going to happen. you have to understand your position better if you’re them. Smith threatened to boycott if Hill was suspended the first time along with two other minority anchors, did they think that was the smart thing to do? people would kill to get that job. and now that she is suspended, people remember what that SportsCenter used to be like, and shocker, they like it. they may have done themselves in on this one, nobody to blame but themselves.

  • BobLee Says

    If she comes back it has to be “pure, unfiltered Jemele with all guns ablazing”. Any indication of a muzzle gets Skippy in even more trouble. Skippy and ESPN’s ratings get hammered either way. Poor Skippy…

  • Paul Lancaster

    Maybe espn can get someone who actually knows something about sports this time. Hill is terrible.

  • DrewShervin

    What a concept. An actual SportsCenter before the games start on the East Coast. ESPN actually believes that sports fans tune in to listen to a Lebron/Kevin debate hundredth time or the standing for the flag a thousandth time.

  • nbtx27

    Bold opinions about sports are fine. Sports. not Trump, not protests. Sports. She should simply be fired.
    Cancel the program.

  • Roger Bournival

    Boy, that would suck. For her!

  • KenD78✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    Tried watching SC6 but it was like watching a Democratic convention. Gave up and went elsewhere.