Stephen A. Smith on Rich Eisen Show Credit: Rich Eisen Show Stephen A. Smith told Rich Eisen Monday he’s not limiting himself to only sports-related opportunities.

Steven A. Smith’s future has sparked plenty of conversation in recent months, as the ESPN personality negotiates a new contract with the network.

But Smith is keeping all his options open, and with a report that the First Take host and the network could be $7 million per year apart in negotiations, other possibilities could begin to look more appealing. One would involve Smith taking his fast-growing The Stephen A. Smith Show podcast, if not to ESPN, then elsewhere.

Smith threw out another option on Monday: He said he’d “entertain” an offer to host a weekly political show in front of a studio audience.

In an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Smith mentioned his options, and said talking politics would be ‘incredibly, incredibly appealing.”

“Where do you want to go with this? Do you want to take it somewhere on network?” Eisen asked. “Wave a wand, the Stephen A. Smith Show goes where?”

“I’m open to all the possibilities,” Smith said. “I don’t limit myself. I could say one thing, but if a better opportunity presents itself, I’m certainly going to entertain it. Building a studio out of my own pocket, spending the money that I spent, my goal was to make sure that I established something that was appealing for linear television as well as for the digital stratosphere. I certainly want to do that and continue to do that.

“I’m also not married to just sports. I’m a huge. huge fan of Bill Maher … Real Time with Bill Maher. I’m a huge fan of John Oliver, I was a huge fan of The Daily Show, first with Jon Stewart, then obviously with Trevor Noah. … Imagining myself in front of a live, studio audience is something that’s incredibly, incredibly appealing to me. It’s not the be all end all, it’s not to say I have to do that, but if an opportunity presented itself to do that on a weekly basis, it’s certainly something I would entertain, whether it’s in the sports stratosphere or the political stratosphere, because I like talking politics, I like talking about some of the political issues that are percolating … in our society.

“But I’m never leaving sports, that’s my bread and butter,” Smith contined. “But again, I like that feel, whether it’s late-night feel, or whether it’s in the afternoon, in front of a live audience, at least once a week, that’s something that I definitely want to entertain.”

Whatever Smith decides to do, he is going to be paid, and paid well.

The First Take host is believed to be seeking $25 million per year from ESPN, and the network’s initial offer was reportedly in the $18 million range.

[Rich Eisen Show]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.