Michael Smith

A big question in the wake of the two-week suspension ESPN handed down Monday for SC6 co-host Jemele Hill was what would happen to the show without her. After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized Hill in September, ESPN reportedly wanted to pull Hill off the air that day, but co-host Michael Smith refused to do the show without her, and other black hosts declined to fill in, leading to Hill and Smith doing their show as normal.

This time around, it came out Monday that Smith and ESPN reached a “mutual decision” that he’d sit out that day and return Tuesday, but the plans for the show in Hill’s absence weren’t clear at that point. Awful Announcing has now learned from a ESPN source that the current plan is for Smith to host SC6 solo Tuesday and for the rest of Hill’s suspension.

This is a fluid situation, and things could still change. But the plan for the time being is for Smith to fly solo in Hill’s absence, and that probably makes sense for all involved. Any replacement under these circumstances would take a lot of flak for sitting in Hill’s spot, especially with her suspension proving so controversial (and she’s already received plenty of supportive comments from ESPN personalities and others), and it’s quite possible that ESPN talent might again decline to fill in for her.

Having Smith do the show solo means there’s no direct replacement for Hill, and also means that SC6 doesn’t just go away for those two weeks or get converted into a more-standard version of SportsCenter, rather than the unique interview- and pop-culture heavy show it’s become. It’s also notable that Hill tweeted her support for Smith Tuesday:

We’ll see how this goes for Smith. It’s not going to be possible to replicate the banter-heavy, back-and-forth elements of the show without a cohost, but any cohost other than Hill probably would have made things very awkward. And they may be able to keep the interview-heavy aspects of SC6, and perhaps bump those up even more to fill time that normally would have been occupied by discussion between the cohosts. SC6 has had plenty of notable player guests, and ESPN also has plenty of analysts who presumably can stop by.

But it is going to be a very different show with just Smith hosting rather than Smith and Hill, and it will be worth watching to see how that plays out. In any case, though, this is at least worth a try, and seems like possibly a better outcome for Smith, Hill and ESPN than directly replacing Hill during this suspension or pulling SC6 altogether.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • Deon Hamner

    She need to stay off twitter…. PERIOD

  • Jason H.

    It basically IS a more standard version of Sportscenter. Anybody there could do this show if they’re just gonna do it like this. All the personality got sucked right out of the show when he’s there by himself playing it straight. He looked like he lost his puppy yesterday.

  • snitch2

    I’m positive ESPN follows ratings and criticisms, especially watching viewership plummet the past 3-5 years.
    And it’s ALL related to allowing on-air staff to talk politics. Kut that krap and we’ll return. Stick to sports.

    • Tookie Clothespin

      No you won’t. 95% of the day across 4 or 5 channels there’s no mention of anything even remotely political. You still don’t watch that.

  • newdog301

    What the hell happened to this country? Seriously.

    You could be the least talented Trump hater in the world and you’re guaranteed 80,000 favorites per tweet. You could be the most talented Trump supporter and it is hard to get a job on TV.

    How about we all stop talking about the President every single minute of every day and just live our lives?

    • Shame Hannity

      I would love that, newdog. Unfortunately, the President’s early morning tweet rants, the constant turmoil in the WH, and his constant attacks on anyone and anybody who disagrees with him makes that damn near impossible. I’ve lived through nine POTUS in my lifetime, and he’s the first to cause me to honestly and truly worry about this great nation of ours……

      • newdog301

        Again, try not reading the headlines.

        It is a chicken and egg situation. Is there really turmoil or do TV networks and websites know that there is a market for EVERY SINGLE STORY about Trump they can possibly find?

        • Shame Hannity

          Try not reading the headlines? Soooo…..put my head in the sand and pretend that everything is alright in our country? It’s not about “EVERY SINGLE STORY” on Trump. Healthcare, Tax reform, North Korea, and his wanting to put a lid on free speech are all VERY serious issues that should not be ignored. It is not a “chicken and egg” situation. It’s about keeping informed and alert on what’s going on in our country. The man WANTS TO BE in the headlines.

          • newdog301

            This post contradicts your last post.

            How are Trump’s failures on healthcare and tax reform something that keeps you, an admitted Trump opponent, up at night? That should make you happy and relaxed.

  • Matt Jones

    If someone gets suspended from a show nobody watches anyway…

  • Andy Deahl

    Stick to sports
    We don’t need politics on ESPN
    No wonder your audience is declining

  • j40bob

    The worst part of the whole thing was missing what Hill would have said about Michigan State upsetting Michigan on Saturday.

  • David Ragan

    So happy DirecTV has a package that does not carry ESPN. Don’t want my money going to a network that no longer has sports reporting, and just in it for the entertainment. Started with Tebow coverage and Bayless..

    She should not have attacked her employer’s paycheck (in turn, where she gets her paycheck). She is neither a serious sports or investigative reporter.

    If she truly believes so passionately that POTUS is white supremacist, then go do an investigative report!

    If she is a “social advocate”, then how many rallies has she had? How many lawmakers has she contacted? Has she started any petitions for either reforming the system or getting new elected officials in? With about 50 % of the voters NOT voting at the last election, there is a lot of advocate room here!