Shannon Sharpe knows he’s never going to have the relationship with Skip Bayless that Stephen A. Smith does. But the Pro Football Hall of Famer believes it makes their FS1 debate show better.
Sharpe joined the latest episode of SiriusXM’s The Adam Schein Podcast. On the show, he discussed his relationship with Bayless. Last month, it was reported that their relationship was at an all-time low. That was backed by a few tense on-air bouts, culminating with Sharpe skipping an episode of Undisputed, seemingly in protest of Bayless’s untimely tweet about Damar Hamlin.
According to Sharpe, however, they’ve since closed the chapter on that portion of their relationship. And while Sharpe admits they don’t have a great friendship off camera, he believes that only helps their working relationship.
“I wasn’t gonna allow two bad months to ruin six years of a great working relationship,” Sharpe said. “We have a great working relationship. Skip and I are not as close as Skip and Stephen A. because Stephen A. came from the same background that Skip does. They did things together, they hung out together. I’m more of a homebody, I’m more of a loner, I’m to myself. If Skip likes you, Skip wants to hang out, he hangs out with Stephen A.”
“I think it helps our relationship on-air that we are not that close,” Sharpe continued to Schein. “He doesn’t know what I’m thinking and he doesn’t know what I’m going to say. I don’t know what he’s thinking and I don’t know what he’s gonna say. I think it helps us television-wise. It might have hurt our personal relationship, but I definitely think it’s helped our on-air relationship.”
There’s something to be said for being able to keep the element of surprise on a live TV show. Especially for one such as Undisputed where they discuss the rundown of topics before going on camera. Bayless and Sharpe certainly know the direction one another might go with a topic before they start discussing it on-air. But they don’t know the extent of the debate, which is what allows for some of their on-air blow-ups.
Kelly Ripa previously claimed the late Regis Philbin had a mandate of “absolutely no talking off-camera,” to ensure everything would be saved for the show. Interestingly, Ripa recently announced her husband Mark Consuelos will be the permanent replacement. He will be in for her outgoing co-host Ryan Seacrest, which kind of negates Philbin’s mandate of saving every conversation for the show.
But for Undisputed, thanks to their minimal friendship off-camera, Sharpe believes it keeps a level of spontaneity that enhances the on-camera product. And as for their recently spiraling on-camera relationship, Sharpe says he and Bayless “realized we’re better together than apart.”