Skip Bayless relaunches Undisputed Photo credit: FS1

With Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin and Richard Sherman sitting at the table, will Skip Bayless be able to find his voice on his own show?

FS1’s revamped Undisputed debuted Monday morning Aug. 28, and the sports debate show boasting Skip Bayless as its captain was definitely different. After nearly seven years of Skip Bayless vs Shannon Sharpe, Undisputed is attempting to replace its former Pro Football Hall of Famer with a roundtable format. Sharpe reached a buyout agreement with FS1 in June and has since signed on to join ESPN’s First Take every Monday and Tuesday during the NFL season.

Bayless and FS1 took the summer to figure out how they should replace Sharpe, ultimately settling on a “Dream Team” cast led by Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin and Richard Sherman. Monday’s debut opened with Bayless being his own hype man, pounding his fist on the table with excitement before claiming, “This is the greatest morning of my career, this is about to be the greatest show I have ever been a part of.”

There was so much excitement, so much enthusiasm, so much tension and awkwardness oozing out of Bayless as he relaunched Undisputed that it was hard to imagine how he was about to make it through a full show. But he did it, and he did it by taking a back seat to his new cast.

As Undisputed’s new additions were reported on in recent weeks, one common sports debate show position that went unfilled was the moderator. Maybe that’s because Bayless knew all along, he was destined to play the debate show moderator role. Undisputed might be Skip’s show, but next to Keyshawn, Irvin and Sherman, there’s no question he was the “Dream Team’s” fourth option.

Naturally, the Dallas Cowboys were the first topic on Monday morning’s Undisputed, and Bayless literally could not get a word in. After sitting there making facial expressions, shifting his head back and forth as his “Dream Team” dominated the microphone, Bayless eventually called “time out,” 17 minutes in, claiming “it is my turn.” 17 minutes into his own show was the first time we heard Bayless weigh in on a sports debate. This is the same Skip Bayless who Shannon Sharpe complained was incapable of letting him finish an opening monologue without interrupting.

During a later discussion about another one of Undisputed’s favorite topics, LeBron James, Bayless claimed he they didn’t leave him enough time to support his own argument. “We don’t have time because you guys talk too much and so I’ve run out of time here. Yes, you talk too much.”

Monday’s Undisputed was loud, it was energetic, and as long as it’s being consumed in reasonable doses, it was pretty entertaining. For the audience, less Bayless is more. Bayless followed Stephen A. Smith’s model for revamping First Take two years ago, by choosing a roundtable of analysts instead of one co-host to spar with daily. Similarly, there are times Smith picks his spots and takes a back seat on his own show.

Bayless letting other people dominate his show will take some getting used to. But how long will it last? Was this just a case of Bayless wanting his new cast to get acclimated with each other?

Maybe. But Keyshawn, Sherman and Irvin sounded like they’ve been doing this together for years, it was Bayless who looked out of sorts on Monday. If a 71-year-old Skip Bayless is secure enough in his career to ease his way into the conversation, Undisputed might have hit on something here. But if Bayless responds to being the fourth option by force-feeding himself onto the show, it will be a disaster.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to