Fresh off his red carpet hosting duties at Sunday’s Emmy Awards, Fox Sports personality Shannon Sharpe has something else to celebrate.
Sharpe has signed a multi-year contract extension with Fox to continue serving as Skip Bayless’ debate opponent on FS1’s Undisputed, said sources.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer’s initial three-year deal expired in July. There was speculation FS1 might install Cris Carter of FS1’s First Things First opposite Bayless if they couldn’t come to an agreement with the three-time Super Bowl champion.
Fox declined to comment Thursday. But Charlie Dixon, executive vice president of content for FS1, previously told Front Office Sports he’d be “mortified” if the 51-year old Sharpe left the cable sports network.
Expanding his role beyond sports, Fox tapped Sharpe to co-host its red carpet pre-show for the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night with Jenny McCarthy and Kelly Osbourne.
During weekday mornings, FS1’s Undisputed trio of Sharpe, Bayless and moderator Jenny Taft compete head to head against ESPN’s First Take cast of Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim.
Since moving to ESPN from ESPN2, First Take has widened its lead, grabbing roughly double Undisputed’s viewership. Still, Undisputed remains a key part of FS1’s programming schedule. Only five years after getting dropped by CBS Sports’ NFL Today pregame show, Sharpe has emerged as more than just a foil for Bayless.
ESPN’s on-air talent must be envious at the liberties enjoyed by Sharpe at FS1.
ESPN’S Jemele Hill got in trouble with Bristol for going after President Donald Trump. But Sharpe frequently bashes Trump. For instance, he tweeted Trump’s behavior is “deeply divisive and disruptive” Wednesday. Sharpe has also been an outspoken proponent of blacklisted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
David J. Halberstam, the former play-by-play announcer for St. John’s University turned publisher of Sports Broadcast Journal, said Sharpe and Bayless are a “galvanizing” team.
“Shannon can be interesting and heady. He called for the firing of Michigan’s (Jim) Harbaugh. He was hard on Tom Brady. The show is growing,” said Halberstam.
Unlike the reclusive Bayless, Sharpe is also willing to mix it up on social media with his critics. On Sunday, he publicly clashed with Antonio Brown after the wide receiver’s release by the New England Patriots.
Sharpe had previously ripped Brown’s “damn fool” behavior with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and Patriots.
On Sunday, Brown fired back with a tweet showing a CBS News story about Sharpe being accused of sexual assault in 2010. (Brown also threw shade at Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Pats owner Robert Kraft for their own personal scandals).
“Shannon Sharpe the funny guy on TV,” wrote Brown before deleting the tweet.
Sharpe countered with a photo-shopped image of “CLOWNTONIO’ Brown as rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine on Sunday.
“I’ll leave you with this: Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful,” tweeted Sharpe.