Since 2013, FS1 has gone through a name change, numerous programming cancellations, hosts and a huge mission statement change.

Over the past ten years, they have gone through many personalities whether it’s been behind-the-scenes or in front of the camera. Culling this list down to ten people wasn’t easy, but overall, these are the people who came to define the network that was originally “The One for Fun,” and eventually became the one to “Embrace Debate.” This list is in no particular order.


By the time Fox Sports 1 launched, David Hill’s role at Fox Sports was diminished, but he helped to oversee the development of the network. Hill was the first President of Fox Sports coming over from Sky Television in the United Kingdom. He was part of the team to lure the NFL to Fox in 1993 and developed many innovations like the scorebug, 1st and 10 line on football, the glowing puck on NHL broadcasts and increased audio on NASCAR broadcasts.

He was also instrumental in launching the Fox Sports Net regional sports networks in the 1990’s and the attempt to make it a competitor to ESPN. While that did not work, Hill and the Fox Sports team tried again with Fox Sports 1.

Hill climbed up the Fox corporate ladder becoming network chairman, running DirecTV when it was under the Fox umbrella and continued to be President of the Fox Sports Media Group.

Hill then developed his own sports media production company in 2015. His influence on Fox Sports remains solid though the present day.


Skip Bayless
Photo credit: FS1

You can’t talk about FS1 without mentioning Skip Bayless. He was lured to the network by his friend, Jamie Horowitz in 2016 and has been on Undisputed ever since. He’s been a lightning rod on numerous subjects being criticized by various athletes, analysts and reporters.

Paired with Shannon Sharpe, Bayless helped to steer Undisputed to some solid numbers. Normally taking up three hours of daily programming, Bayless drives the discussion of LeBron James hate, Dallas Cowboys love and whatever else is on his mind.

And while Undisputed is on hiatus through the last week of August to retool its co-hosts after Shannon Sharpe’s departure, Skippy will continue to be the face of the show. Whether he debates hip hop artists, former ESPN’ers or anyone else who drops by, Bayless will still be the main attraction on Undisputed. Armed with a huge contract, there’s no reason to believe that Bayless will be leaving FS1 anytime soon.


Shannon Sharpe in a Gatorade commercial
Photo credit: Gatorade

Up until June, you could not think of Skip Bayless without Shannon Sharpe. They were partners on Undisputed until Sharpe left. He was Bayless’ debate partner on Undisputed and seemed to be happy until this year. After cracks in the relationship surfaced in January following Damar Hamlin’s collapse in Cincinnati, the run on Undisputed with Skip and Shannon appeared doomed. That’s exactly what happened. However, Sharpe did admit that not being friends with Bayless helped their show. No matter, Sharpe is gone and is apparently headed to ESPN to debate Bayless’ old partner, Stephen A. Smith which shows that the “Embrace Debate” genre is still alive and well.


The former programming wunderkind arrived at Fox Sports to take over FS1 in 2015. This was after a brief disastrous tenure at NBC’s Today Show where he was fired a month before he was officially to take over the program, and developing the First Take at ESPN. He was then tabbed to become President of the entire Fox Sports portfolio later that year and he quickly put his stamp on the network by luring Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock from ESPN, pivoting Fox Sports’ digital properties to video and overseeing a massive layoff of employees. During his time, FS1 was in a time of transition going from programs like Fox Sports Live to Undisputed, The Herd and Speak for Yourself.

To say Horowitz’s time at Fox Sports was tumultuous would be an understatement. His departure from Fox was almost as high profile as his arrival. Horowitz was fired amid allegations of sexual harassment but his programming vision was still carried out. Horowitz’s shadow still looms large at FS1 even though his time at the network was quite brief.


You have to put Jay and Dan as one entry as they were hired to be the faces of Fox Sports 1 in 2013. They were brought in from Canada after a very successful run as the anchors of the late night Sportscentre on TSN. Fox Sports executives were hopeful that they would be their version of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann on Fox Sports Live. However, Fox had no idea what to do with them. They went through various incarnations of Fox Sports Live which was first a hybrid of highlights and a panel discussion, then just highlights, then a late night show.

They did what was asked of them even signing a new contract in 2015. The only problem? Jay and Dan were never allowed to be themselves and show America what made them so great in Canada. Instead, Fox Sports execs kept tinkering with the formula hoping to find something that would stick. Nothing ever did. It led to their unfortunate downfall at FS1 and Jay and Dan returned to Canada in 2017.

In an interview with our Andrew Bucholtz, O’Toole said he didn’t have any regrets moving to the States, “…I’m so glad we did. We would be filled with what-ifs for the rest of our lives if we didn’t do it.”


Katie Nolan

Speaking about not knowing what to do with what you have, Katie Nolan was hired by Fox Sports in 2013 to be first part of Crowd Goes Wild hosted by Regis Philbin and Georgie Thompson, then hosting her own late night show, Garbage Time. She also hosted NFL Films Presents before ceding that to Charissa Thompson who hosts the program to this day.

Nolan was part of the panel on Crowd Goes Wild as its digital reporter. When that show was canceled, she hosted a web series for Fox called No Filter. That was rebranded as a TV series which was titled Garbage Time With Katie Nolan. As we wrote back in 2015, the shows were remarkably similar and the TV show was originally aired on Sunday nights. We thought the show was a change of pace what was normally seen on cable sports television and Joe Lucia called it a breath of fresh air. The show ran for three seasons.

But like with Fox Sports Live, FS1 had no idea what to do with Garbage Time despite winning a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Social TV Experience. Fox said it was looking at tinkering with the show and searching for a timeslot, but it never happened. She finally got released from her contract in 2017 leaving for ESPN.


Colin Cowherd blames Tony Romo's regression on golf
Cowherd was part of the group lured to ESPN by Jamie Horowitz. His midday show became part of the Fox Sports Radio lineup and simulcast on FS1 in September of 2015. In 2016, he added duties as co-hosted a debate show, Speak for Yourself, with Jason Whitlock, but he left the show in 2018. Cowherd has also been seen on Fox NFL Kickoff on Sunday mornings, but he has mostly focused on his radio show and his podcast network.

Cowherd has been recently rumored to possibly return to ESPN, but that is mainly in the rumor stage … for now.


Photo credit: Fox Sports

Eric Shanks took over as President of Fox Sports for Jamie Horowitz and he brought a calming presence to the division. He was at the helm when Fox got the rights to the Big Ten bringing in some much needed glamor college football and basketball games to FS1.

When he took over Fox Sports, Shanks did not tinker with the Jamie Horowitz vision for debate programming on FS1. He also increased documentaries on FS1 and helped to increase live sports programming with MLS, NASCAR and horse racing. Unlike Horowitz when it seemed there were constant stories on his Fox Sports stewardship, we aren’t writing as much on Shanks and that’s a good thing.


Fox Nasdaq
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 16: Gus Johnson, Cleatus the Robot, Georgie Thompson, Bill Raftery, Regis Philbin and Katie Nolan ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite on August 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

There was so much hope for Crowd Goes Wild. It premiered in August 2013 in the late afternoon slot. Regis was host of a panel that included Georgie Thompson coming over from Sky Sports in the UK, writer Jason Gay, comedian Michael Kosta, football Trevor Pryce and the aforementioned Katie Nolan. As our Joe Lucia wrote in our review of  Crowd Goes Wild, it was all over the place.

Despite my negativity, I actually enjoyed the show as a whole. Somehow, it all worked to put together an entertaining show. As with most everything on Fox Sports 1, there are tweaks that will be necessary. Crowd Goes Wild isn’t like Around the Horn or PTI, where panelists yell over each other to make their point. It’s more of a SportsNation meets The View type of show, with the panel engaging in friendly, humorous discussions and occasionally screwing around with other completely random tangents. 

There are a few things that this show is: polarizing, confusing, and most of all, fun. I can definitely see why this wouldn’t be your cup of tea. In fact, I can definitely see many of you thinking it’s terrible. But I can also see it reaching different demographics from your usual batch of “embrace debate” shows.

Regis at times looked lost when there were present-day references, but he wasn’t there to be hip. He left the show before it was put out of its misery in May 2014. When Reege passed away in 2020, none of his obits included Crowd Goes Wild. The show was just a mere blip on his career page.


Mike Francesa

The Mike Francesa Era at Fox Sports was very brief, but also very entertaining. Starting in March 2014, the Sports Pope would appear on Fox Sports 1 for the first three hours of his show, eating up the 1-4 p.m. ET slot, then moving to Fox Sports 2 for the final two hours, but then the Fox Sports 1 portion was extended to 5 p.m. leaving the final hour on Fox Sports 2. The agreement to simulcast Francesa’s show was to last four years. Instead, it lasted 17 months.

During the time he was on Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports 2, Francesa would be often jettisoned off the network for UEFA Champions League matches or NASCAR. And ratings would show those preemptions had higher numbers than Francesa’s New York-based show which never tried to expand its base past the tri-state area. There were instances when Francesa found himself off Fox Sports 1 for four out of five days which did not help build his national audience.

In September 2015, the Francesa Era on Fox Sports 1 ended with a very quiet whimper.

As we have seen in this article, there has been little patience with studio programming on Fox Sports 1/FS1. Just ahead of its five year anniversary, I put together a timeline that showed how quickly shows came and went. And while FS1’s lineup is more stable than it was when it first launched, the run of personalities over its first ten years shows how much upheaval there has been at the network. As FS1 goes into its next ten years, it will be interesting to see the people who have influenced the platform its its first twenty years.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.