Skip Bayless wants to do it live.
On the latest episode of his podcast The Skip Bayless Show, the FS1 host broke down his recent visit to the set of Jeopardy! and compared it to taping Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe every weekday. After watching Ken Jennings tape six episodes of Jeopardy! in one day, it reminded him how much he hates taping content.
“We are competing hard live,” Bayless said of his show with Sharpe. “We’re trying to back each other into a corner, trying to win the debate. It is completely extemporaneous and completely unscripted…I live for live. I thrive on the immediacy of Undisputed. The now or never. The urgency, the electricity, the knowing this is it or else.”
There’s certainly an added sense of pressure when something is live compared to tape, and some hosts can channel that pressure into energy that bleeds through the radio or television, an energy that can be hard to find in podcasts. Other hosts, however, prefer the crutch of being able to start over if they make a mistake. According to Bayless, he needs the urgency of live TV to succeed, which is why he hated doing Pardon the Interruption with Stephen A. Smith.
“Back in the day when I was at ESPN, Stephen A. and I sat in for a couple of weeks for Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on Pardon the Interruption which was taped in Washington DC,” Bayless said. “The actual content on that show is only 22 or 23 minutes around the commercials. It’s live to tape. So if the director didn’t love the way a segment unfolded or if we messed up, we’d just do it again. You always had a safety net and I always hated it. It took some of the edge off.”
Considering his vitriol for taped content, there must be a hidden clip of Bayless reading off a teleprompter somewhere, only to pause and mirror Bill O’Reilly’s “F*ck it we’ll do it live!” rant. Alas, we’ll have to wait and hope for it to get leaked.
“I need the pressure of live,” Bayless continued. “My first show on ESPN, Cold Pizza, was live. First Take was live. For six years and three months, Shannon and I on Undisputed have been very live.”
Interestingly, his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show is not live. Not only is the podcast pre-taped, but Bayless reads the entire show from a piece of paper for over an hour every week.