Stephen A. Smith's old Quite Frankly show.

ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith is known for gripes about particular elements of his lavishly-compensated job, such as how difficult it is to be paid millions annually to watch NBA games thanks to travel and blowouts. And the most notable part of a long For The Win profile of Smith from Nina Mandell (with the telling URL of “,” and published a day after another post from Mandell of “Stephen A Smith and Teddy Atlas stole the show on Alvarez-Golovkin“) may be that Smith would prefer to host a show that starts later than First Take‘s current 10 a.m. Eastern-noon timeslot. (Note that he is not on the 7 a.m. Get Up.)

Here’s the section on that, which also includes him talking about how he’d love to be a late-night talk show host:

Yet Smith has, in fact, been looking beyond sports. He has a small role on his favorite soap opera, General Hospital. And he is excited to host SportsCenter specials because he wants to show off his hosting skills. He envisions a day when he can shift to prime time — or later. Something that lets him stay up until 3 a.m. and start his day a bit later. His early wake up time for First Take makes it difficult for him to be present at NBA games and boxing matches, something he feels is important so that the people he shouts about have access to him.

But his aspirations – his contract is up at ESPN in 2021 – go beyond just yelling about sports.

“Late night, for me, is just the ultimate fantasy,” Smith says. “The dream. The only question I have about myself on late night is, ‘Am I going to be able to do the opening monologue?’ because I’m not a comedian. So the Lettermans, and the Lenos, and the Kimmels, and back in the day with Johnny Carson, the Joan Rivers of the world, to the days of Jimmy Fallon now and Stephen Colbert.”

“These are pros, these are comedians who know how to be funny. Their job to some degree is to be funny, particularly with that opening monologue. That would be a challenge for me. I don’t find anything else about that would be a challenge.”

Can we just point out that Stephen A. already had his chance at a late night show with Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, which ran for a year and a half on ESPN2 from 2005-07 before it was cancelled thanks to poor ratings, part of Smith’s original fall from favor at ESPN? Is there anyone at all out there who wants to see more roundtable discussions with Dr. Boyce Watkins, Method Man, and Vince Spadia on “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” (Yes, that happened, although sadly, video doesn’t seem to be available.) Or more of whatever this rant about Stephon Marbury is?

But sure, it’s only the opening monologue that’s the challenge. Not the interviews.

Anyway, beyond Smith’s dream of hosting a late-night show (and, from those comments, it sounds like his dream is a broadcast general-interest one, not an ESPN one focused on sports), it’s pretty remarkable to hear that he ideally wants First Take moved into primetime or late night. Of course, that’s probably not going to happen any time soon; First Take is a morning fixture in the ESPN lineup at this point, and it’s questionable at best if a show that heavily focused on debate would play as well in a different slot, or if ESPN would be able to get anything to replace it. But won’t someone please think of Stephen A.’s preferred sleep schedule?

[For The Win]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.