Shannon Sharpe Katt Williams Club Shay Shay Credit: Club Shay Shay Podcast

The legend around Shannon Sharpe’s interview with comedian Katt Williams on Club Shay Shay continues to grow. Not only did the interview reportedly bring in 7 figures of revenue for Sharpe, but it also apparently drew the attention of Disney CEO Bob Iger.

In a profile of Sharpe at The Hollywood Reporter, writer Seth Abramovich reported that Sharpe received a personal call from Iger in the aftermath of Sharpe’s viral Williams interview. According to Sharpe, the Club Shay Shay episode was viewed more than 70 million times on YouTube and received nearly 2 million listens. He confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he earned $6 million from the episode. All that attention made Iger want to connect with the recently re-signed part-time ESPN talent.

Sharpe reportedly re-upped with ESPN earlier this month on a new four-year contract to continue appearing on First Take and potentially contribute to ESPN’s NFL programming.

It makes sense that Iger would check in with Sharpe, given his rise since leaving Fox Sports 1 last year. Sharpe struck a deal with Colin Cowherd and The Volume to grow the profile of Club Shay Shay while also launching the popular live nightly YouTube show Nightcap with Chad Johnson.

As ESPN peers toward becoming a digital-first product, it benefits the network to put its biggest stars front and center. Giving popular hosts a bigger platform will bring their audience to ESPN and make fans of people like Shannon Sharpe more likely to subscribe to ESPN.

Iger should probably have started forming a close relationship with Sharpe sooner. Sharpe could make an easy case that he’s already bigger than ESPN and has a digital audience big enough not to need the worldwide leader.

Remember, Iger reportedly pursued a licensing deal for The Pat McAfee Show because he noticed his kids’ interest in the show on YouTube. You get that when a 73-year-old oversees a company’s push into the digital age.

Better late than never, though. Whether Sharpe actually takes over hosting First Take in the future, as Stephen A. Smith has teased, Sharpe is becoming a key talent across all platforms and for all his bosses.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.