Smith expresses frustration with ESPN.
ESPN Sportscenter host Michael Smith is handling the duties by himself nowadays, after his former co-host, Jemele Hill, decided to walk away from the show to pursue opportunities with The Undefeated, a sports and pop culture website owned and operated by ESPN.
Smith recently discussed the changes to SC:6 on James Andrew Miller's latest Origins podcast, and revealed how frustrated he is with the way things played out.
During the podcast Smith said ESPN completely abandoned the original plans for the show, which was supposed to be "Michael and Jemele and their opinions and their chemistry," and instead "muted" the two hosts. Smith says, “We knew we were gonna get shit out of the gate. … But we weren’t built to take it."
He explains (Sports Illustrated),
“There was a time we weren’t even talking to each other [on air] anymore,” Smith said. “Like no more Michael and Jemele, not less, not here and there. No more Michael and Jemele talking. No more of their commentary. It’s just strictly live shots and analysts. That’s what pissed me off so much.
“I’m like, so wait a second, you all acknowledge that one of the strengths that we have going for us as a show is Michael and Jemele’s chemistry, but Michael and Jemele don’t fucking talk to each other? How does that make sense?”
“We knew we were gonna get shit out of the gate. … But we weren’t built to take it,” Smith told Miller. “Immediately we started pushing the panic button. Instead of saying no, this is the vision for this show, this is what we’re doing. This show is about Michael and Jemele and their opinions and their chemistry, and they’re going to do SportsCenter their way. Instead of sticking to that vision, we immediately tried to merge two things.
“It was very frustrating,” Smith added, “behind the scenes and on camera. … They got what they wanted, which was Michael and Jemele being muted. And that frustrated the shit out of us.”