Last week, we alluded to the fact that FS1 had once offered Fox radio host and Outkick the Coverage purveyor Clay Travis a television show but that Travis had turned down the network because he didn’t want to cut back on talking about politics or move to Los Angeles. The decision to offer Travis a show instead of Katie Nolan was likely a factor in Nolan’s rumored move over to ESPN.
Now, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News has some new details, reporting Saturday that FS1 boss Jamie Horowitz was insisting Travis ditch politics altogether.
According to two sources inside Fox Sports, Horowitz contacted Travis in March and offered him the show “if he abandoned all discussion of politics.” The sources said Horowitz told Travis he could “never” tweet about politics, talk about politics, never “touch it at all.”
[Note: It has come to our attention that The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel mentioned a few weeks on the Cover32 Podcast that Travis turned down an FS1 show after being asked to tone down politics.]
Politics are a large part of Travis’ brand, to the point where it’s a bit hard to imagine what his show would even look like without touching on social or political issues. Travis frequently gets political on Twitter, on his radio show and on his website, where the top article at this moment is about how the “left-wing sports media” victimized Ryan Lochte.
It makes some sense that Horowitz, who was fired earlier this month amid a sexual harassment investigation, would want Travis to neuter his more controversial opinions, especially if he was hosting a show in the high-visibility 11 p.m. slot vacated by Fox Sports Live, but asking him to ditch politics altogether would presumably undermine his appeal. Travis has risen to his current level of prominence by explicitly appealing to conservatives, and without that draw he would seem to be just another guy.
Travis was apparently not willing to stick to sports because he reportedly turned down quite a bit of cash from FS1. Via the Daily News:
The sources said Horowitz tried closing the deal by promising Travis major moolah. He waved dollar signs in Travis’ eyes telling him he took Skip (Undisputed) Bayless from making $180,000 per year to now earning $6 million per. He said Bayless had the perfect sports perspective because he only deals in sports opinions. Horowitz told Travis he would make him “filthy rich” if he would JUST talk about sports. Travis, the sources said, waited a day to think about the offer.
Travis called Horowitz and said “no.” “Not many people tell Jamie Horowitz ‘no.’ So, when Clay did it, he probably shocked Jamie,” one source said.
Travis has mentioned FS1’s offer before, tweeting last month that he could have had a show if he had been willing to leave his home in Nashville and move to Los Angeles.
I've been offered my own daily show if I'd move to LA. But I'm happy in Nashville. I'm rich & have a great life. Still do hits. Also: *your
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 4, 2017
Travis now seems to take great pride in no longer working for Fox (although his radio show is broadcast on Fox Sports Radio, he points out that his employer there is actually iHeartRadio), so he certainly does not seem to regret walking away from Horowitz’s offer.