Shannon Sharpe Signed A New Deal With ESPN To Expand His Role On ‘First Take’

A year ago, Shannon Sharpe announced he was leaving FS1 and Undisputed, where his media career took off opposite Skip Bayless, but tensions with his co-host led to him seeking a buyout from his contract. Sharpe pretty quickly landed a recurring role on ESPN’s First Take opposite Stephen A. Smith, working with the Worldwide Leader two days a week for the last 10 months.

Smith and Sharpe found quick chemistry, and on Tuesday ESPN announced Sharpe had signed a multi-year contract with the network to expand his role on First Take and also make some appearances on the network’s other shows.

“Shannon Sharpe has been an incredible addition to the First Take team, enhancing the show’s dynamic with his engaging presence and insightful commentary,” said David Roberts, ESPN’s Head of Event & Studio Production​. “Shannon’s chemistry with Stephen A. Smith has elevated our debates and been another key reason First Take is the premier destination for morning sports discussion.”

Said Sharpe, “Being a part of this family has been a blessing. Everything about this relationship with ESPN, Stephen A., and First Take, has been tremendous. I look forward to expanding my role and showing more of the world what I have to offer. The show goes on!”

We’ll have to wait to find out exactly what expanding his role means, whether that’s as a permanent co-host to Smith or just adding one more day a week to his schedule, but the new deal further solidifies his place at ESPN. One also wonders if this is a precursor to a new Stephen A. contract getting done, as his current deal runs up later this year. Sharpe joined First Take largely because of Stephen A., and he mentions Smith by name in the press release for his new multi-year deal. If he’s signing on long-term, one would think he expects that to be opposite Stephen A.