Friday will be Michael Smith’s last day in the SportsCenter chair as he’s leaving to pursue a different role at ESPN, according to a report from Sports Illustrated. The departure comes just over a month after Smith’s co-host Jemele Hill departed the 6 p.m. show to write for The Undefeated.
The handwriting on the wall for Smith’s exit has been increasing in font size for some time now, and italicized after Hill made her decision. He’s honest comments on the final days of the pairing read a lot like a guy with one foot out the door.
The tone and tenor of the new 6 p.m. show will be drastically different than the SC6 experiment, no matter who takes over. Likely candidates include Sage Steele and John Anderson. ESPN is still welcome to use the SportsCenter Retro idea for a nominal fee.
The record books will reflect that SC6 lasted a total of 13 months and left without attaining most of its lofty goals. Smith and Hill both have significant time left on their contracts and figure to play prominent roles for the company going forward, just not on the same real estate.
Time will tell but the swift demise of their show could be the best thing that ever happened to both of them. There’s an argument to be made that the fit was never there and the degree of difficulty was too high.
Or, more cynically, the world wasn’t ready to embrace such a program.