Jemele Hill is leaving SC6, and going to write for the Undefeated, according to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Deitsch says that it was Hill’s decision. This move comes one week prior to the one-year anniversary of SC6, which began airing right after last year’s Super Bowl. It was a turbulent year for SC6. The ratings never took off as ESPN had hoped by introducing the Jemele Hill/Michael Smith personality-driven production in place of the more traditional 6 p.m. SportsCenter. In the fall, Hill came close to being suspended after comments about Donald Trump being a white supremacist on social media, then was suspended after suggesting a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys over Jerry Jones’ response to the anthem kneeling would be effective.
Just as notably, structural changes were made in September that impacted the production and oversight of SC6. You began seeing them immediately. Almost all the segments that incorporated their former dialog from His & Hers — which is what propelled them to this platform — were scrapped. For the last several months Mike and Jemele largely read from a teleprompter or solicited the opinions of other reporters and analysts at ESPN. They were fulfilling the role that ESPN booted Lindsay Czarniak from to install them in.
Just yesterday, we reported that ESPN was in the process of selling or divesting of FiveThirtyEight.com, one of the pet projects of former President John Skipper. SC6 was another of his projects that could be looking at a short shelf life now that he is gone. This news is shocking coming today, but not shocking when looking at the big picture. You also have to wonder how long Hill will be at ESPN. She was getting paid commensurate with being the lead talent on a television program, and not as a writer for the Undefeated.