Stephen A. Smith shows off new podcast studio Photo credit: The Stephen A. Smith Show

Stephen A. Smith unveiled his new podcast studio this week and the impressive design blatantly reinforces his desire to be a late night host.

Long gone are the days where podcasts are just recorded by a faceless host into a cheap microphone from their basement. And in the first 14 months of The Stephen A. Smith Show, the podcast setup has already endured several design iterations. Smith’s podcast launched as an audio only product with the title, Know Mercy. Earlier this year, the show added a video element. And after changing the title from Know Mercy to The Stephen A. Smith Show, the podcast is now already on its second set design.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Smith said as he introduced his new studio. “I’ve been telling you for weeks, I was coming back at you with a new studio. Well as you can see, I wasn’t lying. Welcome, to the new edition of The Stephen A. Smith Show.”

The new studio features a desk, a cozy couch, a nighttime skyline backdrop, and a color scheme resembling The Arsenio Hall Show. This is no ordinary podcast studio, this is Stephen A. Smith reaffirming that he wants to be a late night TV host. Smith even dressed the part, donning a suit as he showed off his new digs.

ESPN’s foremost personality has long had an affinity for late night. He tried his hand in the space back in 2005 with Quite Frankly on ESPN, an attempt that was quickly canceled. And in 2021, Smith had the opportunity to guest host Jimmy Kimmel’s late night TV show on ESPN’s sister network, ABC for a couple of episodes.

Smith doesn’t shy away from admitting he has career aspirations that exceed what ESPN can offer. And sitting at the top of those aspirations is succeeding Kimmel as host of ABC’s late night product. In the meantime, Smith is at least giving off the appearance that he’s a late night host.

Maybe the First Take host is waiting for the chance to succeed Kimmel, but if and when that opportunity eventually comes, will he still want it? The late night TV industry isn’t exactly a thriving space right now. Smith’s podcast, however, is flourishing. There are no limits to what he can and will talk about, his clips on social media regularly garner over one million views, and his YouTube page has amassed more than 384,000 subscribers in just 14 months. Smith has also expressed plans to build on the success of his own show by creating a podcast network.

It’s hard for anyone to turn down their dream job, but by the time Kimmel’s job becomes available, it might be a step backwards for Smith. When you consider the money Pat McAfee earned with his podcast, and the more than $100 million valuation that Colin Cowherd’s The Volume has supposedly received, Smith’s past goals might get supplanted by his current ventures. And if Smith never gets his opportunity to be a full-time late night host on network TV, he can always hold on to playing one on his podcast.

[The Stephen A. Smith Show]

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