A lot of people were happy to hear that Skip Bayless was leaving ESPN First Take, but if you’ve watched the show since Skip left last Tuesday, then you know that First Take needs to find Skip’s replacement ASAP. As of right now, ESPN is rolling out different analysts to sit in Skip’s empty seat, but the show isn’t going to regain its footing until there is a permanent solution in place. And it sounds like The Worldwide Leader in Sports might already have someone in mind to replace Skip.
ESPN has not responded to any of the rumors surrounding Skip’s possible replacement, but according to former ESPN employee Colin Cowherd, the network is currently negotiating with someone who is already on their staff, and they're thinking about plugging him right into the regular First Take rotation. That someone? Cowherd says it’s SportsNation host Max Kellerman, who works on the West Coast for ESPN alongside Michelle Beadle and Marcellus Wiley in addition to handling boxing duties for HBO.
“Max Kellerman’s leaving that show,” Cowherd said during a Periscope session on Monday, as first reported by The Big Lead. “He’s gonna be on First Take. It’s a done deal. Well, pretty much…Nobody knows [who is going to replace him on SportsNation]. Beadle likes Kellerman. That’s not gonna play well for Beadle. She’ll be upset. These blogs don’t know what’s going on…It’s already a done deal. They’re like $100,000 apart in negotiations. He’s leaving SportsNation and Michelle Beadle’s pissed.”
As we mentioned, ESPN is refusing to comment on what Cowherd said at this time. First Take is still taking suggestions for who should join Stephen A. Smith when he returns to the show in late July:
But Cowherd used to work with Beadle on SportsNation and is closely connected to what’s going on in the sports media world, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to have the inside scoop on who is going to replace Skip.
Regardless of whether or not Kellerman eventually moves over to First Take, people are already talking about it, and a lot of them seem to like the idea of Max taking over for Skip:
Whatever ESPN decides, they’d better decide something soon. Because until then, First Take is going to be stuck in a holding pattern with random replacements filling the set.