It's Official: Shannon Sharpe to Join Skip Bayless' Fox Sports 1 Show

Shannon Sharpe - H Getty 2016
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The three-time Super Bowl champion did a stint as an analyst at CBS Sports and lately has been a guest on FS1's 'The Herd With Colin Cowherd.'

Shannon Sharpe will join Fox Sports 1 as Skip Bayless’ debate partner on Bayless' new daily program. The show is set to bow Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. ET, where it will go head-to-head with Bayless’ old show, ESPN2’s First Take. The announcement came Monday from Fox Sports' national networks chief Jamie Horowitz, who has hired several former ESPN stars including Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock.

Sharpe, 48, is no stranger to sports fans. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos, did a stint as an analyst at CBS Sports and lately has been a guest on FS1’s The Herd With Colin Cowherd. He sat in for Stephen A. Smith on First Take and his chemistry with Bayless combined with a willingness to embrace the show’s lively debate format made him an intuitive choice for Bayless’ new show.

Horowitz has actively taken the three-year-old FS1 away from the sports highlights that still dominate ESPN’s iconic SportsCenter and toward opinion and discussion programming. He lured Cowherd away from ESPN last year and paired him with Whitlock on a daily show, Speak for Yourself, that launched in June.

Bayless told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview that he left ESPN because he felt the network’s buttoned-up corporate culture had begun to interfere with his ability to freely speak his mind on First Take. 

“Too many people in charge at ESPN, for my taste, were a little too fearful. I should say even lived in fear of what I considered insignificant criticism from bloggers who did not matter,” said Bayless. “This Fox team laughs at that stuff, embraces that stuff. At ESPN I occasionally had to tiptoe around some topic. Now I can unleash full force all of me on Fox every day on every topic. I feel like I was giving, especially the last three years at ESPN, 75 to 85 percent of me. Now I can be completely honest on everything.”